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Dubai Islamic Bank in sharia-compliant REIT joint venture

Look to attract local, regional investments before global.

November 24, 2010 4:12 by



Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) launched the emirate’s first sharia-compliant real estate investment trust to aid in the recovery of the country’s battered real estate sector, top executives said on Tuesday.

Emirates REIT, a joint venture between DIB and French property firm Eiffel Management, looks to attract sharia-compliant property such as office buildings, warehouses, schools and car parks and convert the rental income into dividends for investors, said Adnan Chilwan, chief of retail banking at DIB.

80 percent of the REIT’s annual profit will be distributed to shareholders as a dividend.

The initiative was a move by DIB to help fuel growth in the UAE’s struggling real estate market by allowing investors to take income-producing real estate assets from their balance sheets and receive tradeable shares in the REIT, Chilwan said.

“We are cautiously optimistic but, of course, much depends on the acceptance in the market,” he said.

Mark Inch, chairman of Eiffel Management, said the firms expect the REIT to generate 5 to 10 percent in returns over time and the companies expect the REIT to come to market “in the near future.”

DIB provided the seed financing by moving seven of its own properties throughout the UAE into the REIT, executives said. Properties will be based in the Dubai International Financial Center.

DIB’s chief executive Abdulla Ali Al-Hamli said the REIT will initially look to draw capital from the local market but plans to expand to attracts funds throughout the region and then globally.

Executives said that 51 percent of investors must be from the Gulf Cooperation Council but all investors would have access to non-freehold real estate invested in the REIT.

In September, Dubai Islamic Bank raised its stake in troubled Islamic lender Tamweel to 57.33 percent, effectively rendering the mortgage lender a subsidiary of the bank, in a move that was expected to help revive lending in Dubai’s property market.

(Reporting by Shaheen Pasha; Editing by Reed Stevenson)



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