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Bahrain’s Al Baraka eyes more growth in Asia Pacific

Bahrain’s Al Baraka eyes more growth in Asia Pacific

Bahraini Islamic lender Al Baraka Banking Group aims for 15-percent growth in net profit this year and plans to buy a 75-percent stake in an unlisted Indonesian bank as part of its global expansion plan.

March 4, 2012 11:17 by

“We are in talks with Chinese shareholders of an Indonesian bank and hope to buy close to 75-percent stake this year,” Adnan Ahmed Yousif, Al Baraka’s chief executive, told Reuters in an interview.

“Our plan is to invest around $100 million in this deal,” he said, noting that the targeted bank, which he declined to name, is a conventional lender that will eventually be converted to Islamic.

Al Baraka, which has operations in 15 countries including Turkey, Syria and Egypt, posted a 2011 full-year profit of $212 million, up 10 percent on the $193 million profit recorded in 2010.

The bank made a fourth-quarter net profit of $46 million, unchanged on the same period in 2010.

“We see a 15 percent growth in this year’s net profit, much better than last year,” Yousif said.

“That’s mainly on the back of an 18 percent growth in deposits and 15 percent in assets this year,” he said.

Total assets at the bank advanced 8 percent to $17.2 billion in 2011 from $16 billion in the previous year. Deposits grew 8 percent to reach $14.7 billion at the end of 2011.

The bank plans to open 50 more branches this year worldwide, out of which 20 will be in Turkey and 5 in Algeria and Egypt each.

“We want to focus on Turkey, Indonesia and North Africa this year. We already have a rep office in Indonesia,” he said.

Yousif said the group has plans to sell a $300 million sukuk, or Islamic bond, this year but won’t tap the market unless market conditions become more favourable.

The bank’s Turkish subsidiary also plans to go ahead with a $200 million Islamic bond issue, after delaying a sale in December due to pricing concerns, Yousif said. (Editing by Sitaraman Shankar)

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