Bahrain Islamic eyes Asia for expansion
Kuala Lumpur, November 20, 2008
Bahrain Islamic Bank is targeting Asia as part of plans to increase its presence beyond the Gulf state, the Islamic lender's chief executive said.
"Our plan is to expand outside Bahrain," Mohammed Ebrahim Mohammed told Reuters on the sidelines of an Islamic finance forum in the Malaysian capital.
"And (we're) also looking at other markets. This is before the crisis and now we believe there are more opportunities and mainly we're looking at Asia."
Bahrain Islamic is looking to establish or acquire stakes in Asian financial institutions, he said.
Meanwhile, the Bahraini lender, which holds a 30 percent in Islamic Bank of Yemen for Investment and Finance, raised from 2 percent in June, may further up its investment in the bank.
"It all depends on how the business will grow there. Definitely there are lots of opportunities in Yemen," Mohammed said.
He said signs of a weakening in Dubai's real estate market will "definitely" have an impact on Islamic banks in the Gulf states. "(But) maybe the impact in other GCC countries is less than in Dubai." - Reuters
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