Bangkok: Bahrain’s AlBaraka Banking Group BSC, the world’s fourth largest Islamic financial services provider, will spend as much as $300 million (Rs1,215 crore) to woo customers in India and China who want to invest their money according to Muslim tenets.
The fund will be spent in four years building the business in Asia and used for acquisitions or to provide “capital for our subsidiaries there,” Adnan Ahmed Yousif, AlBaraka’s CEO, said last week. The venture in India will be the first by an Islamic bank from West Asia, adding to the Bahraini lender’s presence in 12 countries, he said.
“India is a large market and we are working with partners to see how we can do it,” Yousif said.
AlBaraka will compete with Standard Chartered Plc., ABN Amro Holding NV. and HSBC Holdings Plc. in Asia by offering services that comply with Shariah, or Islamic law. The Islamic finance industry worldwide may grow to $2.8 trillion by 2015 from as much as $1 trillion now, the Malaysia-based Islamic Financial Services Board estimates.
“There is a lot of interest from West Asian investors in Asia, particularly China and more recently India,” said Dubai, UAE-based Arul Kandasamy, head of Islamic financing solutions at Barclays Capital, the investment banking unit of Barclays Plc. London-based Barclays in July said it will start a wealth-management team in India.
AlBaraka is 55% owned by Saudi billionaire Sheikh Saleh Kamel, while a 45% is held by Jeddah-based Dallah AlBaraka Group, an investment company controlled by Kamel. Bloomberg