Noor Bank rebrands and mulls IPO

Hussain Al Qemzi, the bank’s chief executive, said a stock-market flotation would be considered in the medium term.

Noor Bank, the Dubai Sharia-compliant financial institution, will consider a possible initial public offering of its shares after a major rebranding exercise announced yesterday.

Hussain Al Qemzi, the bank’s chief executive, said a stock-market flotation would be considered in the medium term, although there was no current need for new capital at the bank.

Noor said it was dropping the word “Islamic” from its title after a two-year study of its brand status and positioning.

The new name was a “major strategic move aimed at underlining its local and international growth ambitions and broadening the appeal of its Islamic finance products and services to all communities in the UAE,”Mr Al Qemzi added. Dubai has declared its intention to become the global capital of the Islamic economy within three years.

Regarding a market flotation, Mr Al Qemzi said: “We don’t have any need for new money now, but this [an IPO] is something we will look forward to and contemplate in the next few years. This rebranding will help that exercise.”

The rebranding would not affect Noor’s status as a Sharia-compliant financial institution, Mr Al Qemzi insisted. “Adherence to Sharia values and principles is in our DNA,” he said.

The move by Noor surprised some in the local banking industry. “Islamic banking is the coming thing, so it seems strange to drop that from the name. But it probably thinks its Sharia nature is well established enough by now,” said a rival banker, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Noor is part of the Noor Investment Group, which is majority owned by the governments of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The bank has three other business lines, in addition to mainstream banking: takaful (insurance), trade finance and awqaf (endowments and asset management). These will be marketed under the slogan “Noor gets it done”.

An adviser to Noor said a potential IPO was some way off, but “must be a possibility some way down the line”.

Noor made Dh100 million in profits at the halfway mark in 2013. If that performance was repeated in the second half, a rough indication of its potential market value could be around Dh2 billion.

Mr Al Qemzi said that the bank would continue to look at its traditional areas for expansion: Turkey, the GCC region, and South East Asia. “We prefer at the moment not to venture outside those areas until there is more stability. We’re not interested in London,” he added.