BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, China

Dubai bank expanding Asian operations

State-owned Noor Islamic Bank seeks more business in Singapore and Malaysia to benefit from growth in Southeast Asia.

CEO Hussain Al Qemzi said Malaysian companies are looking to finance infrastructure projects as part of Malaysia’s US$444 billion program to build roads and power plants over the next 10 years.

He also noted that Malaysia is the world’s biggest sukuk market, which is an advantage for his bank. Sukuk, or Islamic bonds, pay asset returns to comply with Islam’s ban on interest rates.

Noor Islamic helped clients raise syndicated loans in Turkey worth US$2 billion in the past 18 months and plans similar ventures in Southeast Asia.

“We will be interested in helping Southeast Asian clients with Shariah-compliant business in the Middle East,” Al Qemzi said.

Malaysian companies have sold US$4.7 billion in Islamic bonds so far this year, 8% more than the same period last year. Assets of Shariah-compliant banks are expected to reach US$1.1 trillion this year from US$826 billion in 2010.

Noor Islamic was established in 2006 in Dubai, and is a Shariah compliant commercial bank, owned by Emirates Investment Authority and Noor Investment Group LLC. The bank provides a full range of banking, investing and other financial and risk management products and services for its clients.

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