Abu Dhabi’s Aabar to invest in Oman Islamic bank

Al Izz Islamic Bank will be one of the company’s largest investments in the region
Abu Dhabi’s Aabar to invest in Oman Islamic bank
By Shane McGinley
Wed 01 Aug 2012 02:29 PM

Aabar Investments, the Abu Dhabi fund with stakes in Virgin Galactic, Arabtec Holding, Daimler and UniCredit, is to invest in new Omani lender Al Izz Islamic Bank, one of the government-backed firm’s biggest investments in the region.

Aabar announced it will be a cornerstone investor in Oman’s Al Izz Islamic Bank, which unveiled its corporate identity on Tuesday and is preparing to launch an initial public offering (IPO).

“We are delighted to be a cornerstone investor in Al Izz Islamic bank. It will be one of our largest investments in the region,” Aabar Investments CEO Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny said of the announcement.

“It builds on our significant investments in financial services in key European and Asian markets and affirms our confidence in the outlook for Oman and wider Gulf financial services markets,” he added.

The Al Izz Islamic Bank is jointly promoted by Huriah Company, Aabar Investments and Tasameem Real Estate Company.

"This is a unique opportunity for us to fulfil the unmet demand for Islamic financial products and services in the Sultanate and to contribute to the development of Oman's economy,” HH Sayyid Taimur bin As'ad Al-Said said at the unveiling of the bank’s logo.

Al Izz will be the second Islamic lender in Oman, following in the footsteps of Bank Nizwa, which launched its IPO in June.

While other Gulf states have ramped up Islamic finance services in recent years, Oman stood out by refusing to develop the industry. The central bank reversed that stance last year, partly to prevent the outflow of Islamic funds.

Bank Nizwa expects to post its first profit in 2014 and will begin operations in later this month, its CEO Jamil Al Jaroudi told Reuters.

The lender raised OMR60m (US$155.8m) in a 40 percent IPO which attracted subscriptions from investors worth 11 times the sum it planned to raise.

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