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Noor Islamic Bank mulls setting up Malaysia and Turkey offices

(Bloomberg) / 16 November 2011

DUBAI - Noor Islamic Bank PJSC, a lender controlled by Dubai’s government, may expand into Malaysia and Turkey as it seeks to attract more overseas business in the $1 trillion Shariah-compliant finance industry.

“We hope to open an office in Malaysia by the end of next year if we can get at least $500 million of business,” Chief Executive Officer Hussain Al Qemzi said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur  on Tuesday. The Islamic lender may also open an office in Turkey, where it hopes to conclude $2 billion of business by year-end, he said.

Malaysia is home to the world’s biggest Islamic bond market, while Turkey passed tax measures earlier this year to promote the sale of Shariah-compliant bonds. The Kuala Lumpur-based Islamic Financial Services Board, a global standards-setting body, estimates that the Islamic finance industry has grown 20 per cent annually since 2000 and will reach $2.8 trillion by 2015.

Dubai should work together to promote more cross-border deals, Al Qemzi said.

“We are talking to some Malaysia lenders to form partnerships to tap businesses in the region,” he said, declining to name them.

The Dubai-based company has no plans to take equity ownership in the banks, he said. Noor Islamic reported in July an operating profit of Dh207 million ($56 million) in the six months to June after a loss of Dh9 million in the same period earlier, and a net profit of Dh85 million in the first half. The lender expects to break-even by year-end, Al Qemzi said.

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