Ref No. 25/2007
THE ISLAMIC BANK OF ASIA GRANTED LICENCE TO OPERATE IN BAHRAIN
Representative office expected to open within next three months
SINGAPORE, 3 October 2007 - The Islamic Bank of Asia (IB Asia) announced today that it received a banking licence from the Central Bank of Bahrain to set up a representative office in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The representative office, IB Asia's first in the Middle East, is expected to open by the end of this year. It will focus on developing IB Asia's wholesale, commercial and investment banking businesses in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The office will also help to foster interaction between IB Asia and its GCC-based investors, and strengthen relationships with clients based in the Middle East.
IB Asia started operations in May. It is a joint venture between DBS, one of the largest financial services groups in Asia, and 34 investors from prominent families and industrial groups based in the GCC. DBS is a majority shareholder in IB Asia with a 50 per cent plus one share.
His Excellency Abdulla Hasan Saif, Chairman of IB Asia said: "Bahrain is a renowned and well-regulated epicentre of the USD 1 trillion global Islamic financial industry. The environment in this market will enable IB Asia to stay abreast of the latest developments in the industry, as well as facilitate the institutional businesses that IB Asia wants to do in the GCC.
"Bahrain will also help IB Asia build momentum in its wealth management business due to its close proximity to the wealth hubs in the Middle East," he added.
IB Asia CEO Vince Cook said that the Bahrain office marks a new milestone for the bank. He said that the bank has completed numerous transactions in the GCC and Asia, five of which saw IB Asia positioned as mandated lead arranger or lead arranger. These include a three-year, USD 600 million syndicated revolving murabaha for
Qatar-based Barwa Real Estate Company Q.S.C., of which USD 100 million was underwritten by IB Asia and DBS. IB Asia's portion of the transaction was
USD 50 million.
"We presently have a number of landmark transactions in the pipeline that will further strengthen our position in the global Islamic banking market," he said.
Mr. Cook said that the new office will also help strengthen IB Asia's position in the region: "Establishing representation in the GCC has always been a top priority for us, and our Bahrain office will augment our ability to help our GCC clients further realise Asia's opportunities.
About The Islamic Bank of Asia
Incorporated in May 2007 with DBS Bank and prominent investors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as shareholders, The Islamic Bank of Asia (IB Asia) combines banking expertise and insights of Asia with strong Islamic banking credentials to tap into opportunities within Asia and the Middle East. Headquartered in Singapore, IB Asia focuses on commercial banking, corporate finance, capital market and private banking services. To find out more about IB Asia, log on to www.islamicbankasia.com.