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Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Albaraka Banking to Invest in Indonesia, Malaysia, India Amid Hefty Income

MANAMA, 14 August 2007 � Bahrain-based Albaraka Banking Group (ABG), the Bahrain-based leading Islamic banking group, has unveiled a major expansion strategy focusing on the most important markets in Asia with an initial investment of $300 million in two to three years time, a top official at the bank said yesterday. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, president and chief executive of ABG, in announcing the bank's half yearly total operating income that rose to $197.11 million and net income increasing by 117 percent, said the expansion strategy would help the bank to consolidate its position outside the Middle Eastern region. The ABG will invest in Indonesia, Malaysia and India, which the CEO said would add value to the bank's existing presence in the most rapidly growing countries.The bank has announced a big increase in its net income by 117 percent and saw an excellent growth in total assets by 30 percent in the first half of the year. The total equity, including minority interest, rose by 83 percent and operating income by 33 percent in the first six months of 2007. The results showed strong growth with the total operating income at $197.11 million for the first six months of 2007, compared to $148.54 million for the same period last year, reflecting an increase of 33 percent. The net income also achieved an impressive 117 percent growth to reach $120.97 million for the first six months of 2007, compared to $55.70 million for the same period last year. The core financing and investment activities also showed noticeable growth. Total assets as of end of June 2007 were $8.64 billion, compared with $6.65 billion as at the end of June 2006, an increase of 30 percent. Total financing and investments grew by 24 percent from $4.6 billion to $5.7 billion during the same period. In concurrence with this growth in the operating assets, customer deposit accounts, other accounts and unrestricted investment accounts together recorded a substantial increase of 24 per cent to reach $6.9 billion compared with $5.55 billion in June 2006 and total equity, including minority interest, increased by 83 percent to reach $1.43 billion. Shaikh Saleh Abdulla Kamel, chairman of ABG, said that following the successful IPO last year, the group has started to implement its ambitious plans to increase its operations and activities in its existing markets as well as in new markets. Yousif said the outstanding results achieved in the first six months of this year are a direct result of the steps we took to capitalise the subsidiaries of the group, effect overall improvements in staffing, technology and controls, in addition to our success in unifying the group's strategic direction. "The group is well on its way to achieving its business strategies and enhancing shareholder value. The first half of 2007 witnessed many strategic initiatives taken by the group.""We (also) announced the merger of Al-Amin Bank and Albaraka Islamic Bank, two subsidiaries of ABG," he added.in an integrated financial institution with over $600 million in total assets. We also announced of our opening a representative office in Indonesia as well as obtained the approval of the Syrian authorities to establish a banking subsidiary in Syria with a capital of $100 million. This was in addition to the overwhelming success of Albaraka Turk Participation Bank's (our subsidiary in Turkey) IPO, which was more than 32 times oversubscribed. This has had a positive impact on our revenues and we intend to shortly issue our first Islamic Sukuk in order to enhance our financial resources and we expect this issue to be fully successful, especially in view of the investment grade assigned to ABG by Standard & Poor's early this year." - (MENAFN - Arab News)

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