Dh500m joint venture Islamic finance company launched

ABU DHABI — The First Gulf Bank (FGB) in association with Abu Dhabi's three top real estate developers, has launched an Islamic finance company — Aseel Finance to offer mortage and real estate development finance for the fast developing real estate sector in the country.

By Haseeb Haider

Published: Wed 2 May 2007, 9:05 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:55 PM

First Gulf Bank (FGB) holds a 40 per cent stake, while Aldar Properties, Surouh Real Estate, and Reem Investments owns 20 per cent shareholding each, in a joint stock company with an authorised capital of Dh500 million.

"Aseel will participate in a range of Islamic finance activities, except retail activities, as per the Central Bank's guidelines for Islamic finance companies operating in the UAE," said Abdul Hamid Saeed, chairman of Aseel Finance.

At a Press conference, he said "Aseel's overall mission is to become the UAE's leading Islamic financial institution and the first choice for Shariah-compliant financial products." Saeed said that Islamic banking is now the world's fastest-growing sector in the financial industry, with a global investment value estimated at around $500 billion. "With the region demonstrating an increasing propensity for Shariah-compliant products that exclude interest-based assets, the creation of Aseel is a business imperative,"he said.

He added that the company may go beyond UAE, for a viable projects. "This is the right time to introduce a competitive element to the UAE's Islamic finance segment," said Galal Kulaib, General Manager, Aseel Finance. "Demand for Islamic mortgages within the Emirates is increasing though the mortgage concept is relatively new to the market. Aseel will also complement and assist in promoting the interests and investments of our shareholders, which are behind many of the major developments within the UAE in general and Abu Dhabi in particular."

Aseel's immediate plans include an expansion of its range of products, services and branch network in the UAE as well as exploring opportunities regionally and internationally. "Our innovative solutions, competitive products coupled with expertise in the retail and corporate activities will enable us to set up and drive the home finance industry in the capital, and compete with existing companies operating in the UAE," explained Kulaib. "In the long-term we will actively compete with dedicated real estate Islamic finance houses but also with mainline Islamic financial institutions ." Kulaib concluded.

Speaking on occasion, Shafqat Ali Malik chief financial officer, Aldar Properties said that demand for Islamic mortage is huge and with upcoming projects, it would grow fast. He said that the new company will be eying a mortage market of Dh 4-5 billion per annum, considering the development projects announced in Abu Dhabi and elsewhere.

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