Noor Islamic Bank, a lender controlled by Dubai’s government, said it’s seeking business in Singapore and Malaysia as it aims to benefit from growth in Southeast Asia.
“I’ll be interested in any transaction that comes up,” Hussain Al Qemzi, chief executive officer of the United Arab Emirates-based lender, said in an interview in Singapore today. “Malaysia is the world’s biggest sukuk market. I understand companies are looking to finance infrastructure projects.”
Malaysia, which is aiming to become a global hub for Islamic finance, has a $444 billion program to build roads and power plants over the next 10 years. Sukuk, or Islamic bonds, pay asset returns to comply with the religion’s ban on interest.
Al Qemzi said yesterday at the World Islamic Banking Conference in Singapore that the European debt crisis offered Islamic lenders a “golden opportunity” to capture a bigger share of the world banking market.
Noor Islamic helped clients raise $2.1 billion of syndicated loans in Turkey in the past 18 months and it plans similar ventures in Southeast Asia, he said.
“We will be interested in helping Southeast Asian clients with Shariah-compliant business in the Middle East,” Al Qemzi said.
Malaysian companies have sold 15 billion ringgit ($4.7 billion) of Islamic bonds in 2012, 8 percent more than the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Assets of Shariah-compliant banks are expected to reach $1.1 trillion this year from $826 billion in 2010, according to an estimate published by Ernst & Young.