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Mon 6 Jul 2009 01:54 PM

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Noor Islamic eyes expansion abroad

Dubai bank's chief says it is looking to 'take advantage of favourable market conditions' for growth.

Dubai's Noor Islamic Bank said on Monday it was well capitalised to fund growth and expansion and was seeking opportunities abroad, about six months after it put plans on hold because of the global economic crisis.

Noor Islamic, which aimed to be the world's largest Islamic bank within five years of its launch in 2008, said the conversion of government deposits into Tier-2 capital had put it in a strong position to weather the economic downturn.

Noor Islamic chief executive Hussain Al Qemzi said in a statement the company would try to "take advantage of favourable market conditions for reasonable and attractive growth opportunities internationally".

When Noor Islamic launched in January 2008, Al Qemzi said the lender aimed to be the world's largest Islamic bank within five years, spending as much as $1 billion on individual acquisitions in countries such as Indonesia, Egypt and Britain.

But a year later it said it was putting its expansion projects on hold because of the economic downturn.

Since then the Islamic bank has taken up a conversion option offered to all UAE banks as part of the Ministry of Finance's 50 billion dirham ($13.61 billion) deposit injection to shore up local banks' balance sheets.

The bank said on Monday its board and shareholders had approved the conversion of government deposits into Tier-2 capital.

It said its capital adequacy ratio was now above 20 percent, twice as high as the minimum requirement set out by the central bank. (Reuters)

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