Al Salam Bank eyes 20pc profit rise
Dubai, March 26, 2008
Salam Bank expects profit to grow by at least 20 per cent this year and plans to expand in Arab and Islamic countries, the lender's deputy chairman said on Wednesday.
"There will be expansion into some Arab and Islamic countries, from Morocco and Libya to Indonesia and Syria," Hussain Al-Meeza told Al Arabiya television at the bank's debut listing on Dubai Financial Market on Wednesday.
The bank, which is already listed in Bahrain, had said last May that it expected to enter the European market within two years. Al Salam operates according to Islamic law.
Asked about his expectations for profit growth in 2008, Al-Meeza said, "Our plan is to grow at a rate of no less than 20 to 25 per cent annually".
"DFM is the first market in which Al Salam Bank-Bahrain has listed its shares outside Bahrain. The listing is part of our plan for future expansion and development," he noted.
With this listing, the number of companies listed on DFM has reached 57 public joint stock companies, said a DFM official.
Mohamed Ali Alabbar, chairman of the board of directors of Al Salam Bank-Bahrain, opened trading of the bank’s shares at a ceremony attended by Essa Kazim, chairman of the board of directors of DFM.
Board vice chairman, Al Salam Bank-Bahrain; Yousif Abdulla Taqi, chief executive officer, Al Salam Bank-Bahrain; and members of the bank’s executive management also attended.
"At 10am, the chairmen of both DFM and Al Salam Bank-Bahrain rang the bell declaring the start of trading of the bank’s shares. The shares will be traded under the symbol 'Salam-BH'," a DFM official said.
Alabbar dubbed the listing as a significant step in the bank’s expansion strategy. “It is a great leap forward for the bank’s operations and is the result of the successful implementation of the bank’s goals, and the creation of a healthy environment for shareholders to trade their shares."
Alabbar, who also heads Emaar Properties' board, said the bank could potentially co-operate with the largest Arab real estate firm by market value.
"Co-operation between Al Salam Bank and Emaar or any other company is the foundation of (our) work. I am sure there will be co-operation," Alabbar told Al Arabiya in a separate interview, without being more specific."
"The increasing trust of the investors in the bank is the result of the bank’s success since its inception in creating high yields for its investors. The incredible economic growth of the UAE pushed the bank’s management to choose DFM as a starting point to trade Al Salam Bank-Bahrain’s shares outside the Kingdom of Bahrain."
This listing is also an important step towards bringing the UAE and the Kingdom of Bahrain’s financial markets closer together.”
According to Kazim, Salam Bank-Bahrain was the first listing on DFM in 2008. "We firmly believe that with every listing, the market adds more depth and diversification while offering a balanced portfolio to investors.”
“The listing of Salam Bank-Bahrain reaffirms DFM’s pole position and our potential to grow further. We offer truly unique investments opportunities for a vast spectrum of investor segments. DFM’s strategy is based on offering diversified investment options to investors, and today’s listing is in line with this strategy,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service