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Mon 13 Apr 2009 03:27 PM

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Bahrain's First Energy to invest $400 mln in '09

Bahrain-based lender to close at least 7 projects in the MENA region; mulls sukuk issue.

Bahrain-based First Energy Bank is looking to invest $400m in energy projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) this year and is considering issuing Islamic bonds, a company executive said on Monday.The bank is working to close at least seven projects, up to five in exploration and production and two more in the power sector in the MENA region, M. Hidayathullah Baig, its head of Islamic finance and advisory, told the Reuters Islamic Banking and Finance Summit in Bahrain.

"We plan to invest at least $400m this year," Baig said, adding that the bank was allocating between $50m and $100m per project.

Baig said the bank is mulling the launch of a number of new products, including an energy fund and a sukuk - or Islamic bond - issue for its projects like Menadrill, a company that provides drilling services for offshore exploration.

The firm is also considering the issue of a project finance sukuk targeting retail investors, Baig said, adding that so far investors had been mainly high net-worth individuals and financial institutions. (Reuters)

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