Al Baraka Egypt plans $617m expansion
Cairo, April 2, 2010
Bahrain's Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG) said on Wednesday it had changed the name of Egyptian Saudi Finance Bank and will invest 3.4 billion Egyptian pounds ($617.5 million) to expand its operations.
The Cairo-based Islamic bank, in which ABG has a controlling stake, will now be known as Al Baraka Egypt Bank.
ABG CEO Adnan Yousif told a news conference the bank had been encouraged by Egypt's economic growth over the past year.
Al Baraka Egypt Bank will set up a 100 million pound ($18.2 million) sharia-compliant real estate fund to finance plot purchases by middle-income clients.
It may later increase the fund by 500 million pounds ($90.8 million) to meet demand. It would also establish a second, similarly-sized fund, to finance consumer goods like cars or household appliances.
"The Egyptian economy .. is witnessing an ongoing series of economic and financial reforms which were well-received and praised by concerned international institutions," Yousif said.
"The bank's philosophy is to be a main player in the national economy and offer retail products to a wide customer base," said Ashraf Ghamrawy, head of Al Baraka Egypt.
Ghamrawy said Al Baraka Egypt planned to double its branches in Egypt to 50 by the year 2015. The Cairo-based bank's assets rose 10 percent in 2009 to $2.12 billion, investments were up 16 percent to $1 billion, financing activities grew 4 percent to $815.6 million and deposits rose 13 percent to $1.87 billion.
Net profit jumped 224 percent to $13.56 million. The bank, one of only three Islamic banks in Egypt, has been lobbying the Egyptian government to introduce regulations on the issuance of sukuk, or Islamic bonds.
"We wish to see the Egyptian government offer sukuk and help banks in Egypt achieve significant liquidity," Ghamrawy said. - Reuters