Dubai Holding forms $10bn global Islamic venture

Published: Wednesday, 7 May, 2008, 02:24 AM Doha Time
Dubai: Dubai Holding, the investment group owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid al-Makhtoum, merged its Dubai Bank and Dubai Islamic Investment Group units to create a $10bn venture that will buy companies overseas.
The venture, Dubai Banking Group, will be managed by Dubai Group and will focus on buying banks, insurers and other assets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia that comply with Muslim Shariah law, Dubai Holding said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
Dubai Banking Group will “aggressively target significant direct investments and acquisitions in a wide range of sectors across the world’ s biggest Islamic markets,”  Dubai Group executive chairman Soud Ba’alawy said in the statement.
Demand for banking products, insurance policies and investments that comply with Muslim Shariah law’s ban on interest has increased as oil money floods into the Persian Gulf. The global Islamic finance industry’s assets under management are expanding by 15% a year and may have topped $1tn, according to the Malaysia-based Islamic Financial Services Board.
About 60% of all Shariah-compliant assets are owned by Gulf investors, with 20% held in Muslim Asia and the rest distributed globally, Moody’s Investors Service estimates.
Ba’alawy last year said Dubai Group manages more than $40bn for Sheikh Mohamed and plans to create the Gulf’ s biggest financial-services Corp.
Dubai Group is a founding shareholder in Noor Islamic Bank, which opened on January 6 with a five-year plan to expand into the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Dubai Islamic Investment Group owns a 51% stake in Kuwait-based Islamic insurer al-Fajer Retakaful Insurance Co KSCC, 40% of Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd and 17% of National Bonds UAE, according to its website.
Dubai Bank, in which Emaar Properties PJSC has a 30% stake, on April 13 said its first quarter profit quadrupled to $36mn on rising demand for Islamic loans.
Salaam al-Shaksy, who is currently chief executive officer of Dubai Islamic Investment Group, is appointed chief executive officer of Dubai Banking Group, today’s statement said. – Bloomberg


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