Asia Beats Europe as Gulf's Shariah Lenders Seek Growth: Islamic Finance

Al Salam Bank BSC, Bahrain’s fastest-growing lender by revenue in the past year, plans to invest $500 million of Islamic funds in Asia, joining Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Group in tapping the region’s growth.

Al Salam Bank will put funds into real estate, agriculture and food in the next five years, focusing on Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, Yousif A. Taqi, chief executive officer at the Manama-based bank, said in an interview on Aug. 5. Al Rajhi is looking to invest $200 million in Asian property, Jonathan King, director at AEP Investment Management Ltd., which is 80 percent owned by the Saudi group, said on Aug. 2 in Singapore.

Asia Beats Europe as Gulf's Shariah Lenders Seek Growth: Islamic Finance

“Asia is a very fertile land for Islamic banking as this is where the growth is,” said Taqi at Al Salam, adding that capital had increased to $2 billion in 2009 from the bank’s inception three years earlier. “Our existing investment in Asia is $200 million and in Europe it won’t exceed $100 million.” Continue reading