Bahrain's Unicorn Investment Bank,
which said it repaid a $125m Islamic credit facility on
Thursday, has dropped plans to buy Dubai Group's 40 percent
stake in Malaysia's Bank Islam, a top executive said.
Dubai Group, an investment vehicle owned by the ruler of
Dubai, said in October 2009 it was reviewing options for the
stake in Malaysia's second-largest Islamic bank as it shifts its
focus closer to home.
Unicorn had been mulling the purchase of that stake.
"We get shown various opportunities in Malaysia but this
deal did not make sense to us," Ikbal Daredia, acting chief
executive of Unicorn, said in a telephone interview on Thursday.
The investment bank, founded in 2004, expects its first
annual loss in 2010, Daredia said. He added he expects a return
to profitability in 2011.
Investment banking in Bahrain has been hard hit after a
regional property crash in 2008. Unicorn's business is slightly
more diversified than other Bahraini investment houses.
Unicorn has repaid a $125m, three-year syndicated
commodity murabaha facility, it said earlier on Thursday.
"We repaid this facility from internal sources and did not
resort to asset sales. We didn't want to resort to fire sales,"
The facility, arranged by Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich
AG (RZB) and Dubai Bank in 2008 , was due Jan. 27, Unicorn said.
The repayment reduced Unicorn's liabilities from more than
$600 million in 2009 to "minimal levels", a statement said.
Unicorn had assets of $974 million at end-March 2010.
Chief Executive Majid Al-Refai left Unicorn last August.
Sources told Reuters his departure was due to a dispute with its
board over strategy.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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