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UAE firms plan $656 million 
REITs in Malaysia, says Bursa

(Bloomberg) / 24 February 2011

KUALA LUMPUR — Two property developers from the United Arab Emirates are planning to list Islamic real estate investment trusts worth a combined 2 billion ringgit ($656 million) in Malaysia this year, an exchange official said.

The companies will be the first from the Gulf to sell Islamic REITs in the Southeast Asian nation, said Raja Teh Maimunah, global head of Islamic markets at Bursa Malaysia Bhd., which manages the country’s stock and bond exchanges. The portfolio of properties includes residential and commercial real estate in the UAE, she said. Malaysia is attracting overseas investors from the Middle East as the political turmoil in the region boosts appetite for assets in the world’s biggest market for sukuk, or Shariah-compliant bonds.

“Liquidity becomes a challenge for them after the global financial crisis and so they’re looking at our market,” Raja Teh said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur. Dubai has submitted a formal application to Malaysian authorities to issue ringgit-denominated sukuk, she said. The Securities Commission declined to comment on the matter in an e- mailed response to questions today.

Gulf Investment Corp., the investment company, sold 600 million ringgit of Islamic bonds in January.

Dubai may sell bonds this year and a Malaysian offering is possible, Abdulrahman Al Saleh, director-general of the emirate’s Department of Finance, said December. 14, two months after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced Dubai’s proposal for a multi-currency sukuk programme.

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