Dubai Investments, a diversified company in which Investment Corporation of Dubai, the emirate's sovereign wealth fund has an 11.54 per cent stake, is leading a group of investors who will set up a $100 million Islamic bank that will list on Nasdaq Dubai.
Arkan Bank, which is applying for a license to be based in Dubai International Financial Centre, will have an initial paid-up capital of $100m and authorised share capital of $500m, Dubai Investments said on Tuesday in a statement to Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are listed.
The lender plans to list its shares on Nasdaq Dubai within a year of establishment, subject to regulatory approvals. The Sharia-compliant lender will be the first home-grown Islamic bank in DIFC, the company said
“The launch of Arkan Bank is coming at an opportune time in the UAE Islamic banking landscape,” said Khalid bin Kalban, chief executive of Dubai Investments, and the founder and chairman of Arkan Bank. “The bank will initially focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale and reach across its business lines, products and geographies to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank in the region and global arena."
Islamic finance is viewed as a key growth area by financial hubs in the Middle East and Asia. Dubai, the commercial and business hub of the Middle East, is aspiring to become the leader in Islamic economy.
Ethical investing has been gaining traction globally. Sukuk issues rose 45 per cent year-on-year to $97.9bn in 2017, the highest level since 2014, boosted by Saudi Arabia’s $9bn inaugural sukuk in April and other GCC sovereign issuances, according to S&P.
Dubai Investments plans to float at least 30 per cent of its district cooling unit Emicool by the end of 2018 on the Dubai Financial Market, Mr bin Kalban told The National last month.
Public offerings are making a comeback following a dry spell over the past couple of years, when a slow down in economic growth forced many companies to shelve plans for IPOs amid concerns of not getting proper valuations for their businesses.
The bank will offer banking services and investment products catering to ultra-high-net-worth individuals, corporate and institutional clients through its main business lines: corporate banking, asset management and awqaf, investment banking and treasury.
“Coupled with strong public markets, sukuk and mergers and acquisition outlook, the future looks optimistic for the bank and aligns with Dubai’s vision to become the capital of Islamic economy,” said Mr bin Kalban.