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Sun 27 Feb 2011 01:30 PM

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New Islamic insurer to debut on Abu Dhabi market by April

Wataniya Takaful plans to raise AED82.5m ($22.47m), or 55% of its capital, through an IPO

New Islamic insurer to debut on Abu Dhabi market by April
ISLAMIC INSURANCE: Wataniya Takaful plans to raise AED82.5m ($22.47m), or 55% of its capital, through an IPO (ITP Images - for illustrative purposes only)

A new Islamic insurer, backed

by top Abu Dhabi entities, will be listed on the UAE capital's

bourse by March or April, a senior official at one of its

backers said on Sunday.

Wataniya Takaful plans to raise AED82.5m ($22.47m), or 55 percent of its capital, through an

initial public offering. It will have capital of AED150m to provide Islamic insurance.

"The Wataniya IPO could be in March or April latest," Aref

Al Khouri, managing director of the Islamic banking division of

National Bank of Abu Dhabi said at an Islamic forum in

Abu Dhabi.

The venture is backed by National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Abu

Dhabi National Insurance Co - each with a 35 percent

stake - while Abu Dhabi National Energy Co and Aldar

Properties will hold 15 percent each in the founder's

share.

"There is a huge demand for sharia-compliant insurance

products with very little available in the market," Khouri told

Reuters later. "We see good potential."

The UAE with a population of around 8 million has 59

insurance companies and seven takaful providers.

Takaful works like mutual insurance, but there is a clear

segregation of the assets owned by members and those owned by

the insurer. Islamic insurers keep away from investments in

risky assets and prefer fixed income products for parking their

funds.