Turmoils shift the axis of Islamic investments
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News | 10/24/2011 12:00:00 AM | GÖKHAN KURTARAN
The ongoing unrest in North Africa and the Middle East have directed many investors from Gulf countries to Turkey. The newcomers include many Islamic bankers, says to top executive of Dubai-based Noor.
Turkey has attracted significant investments from Gulf countries as well as Islamic bankers due to the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the top executive of the Dubai-based Noor Islamic Bank.
“Turkey served as the safe haven regarding investments from the Middle East,” said Hussain Alqemzi, Noor’s chief executive officer, speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday on the sidelines of the Islamic Investment and Finance Forum in Istanbul.
“Certainly we would like to see more stability in the region, which would pave the way of the investment climate,” Alqemzi said, adding that the Noor Islamic Bank has been mandated to arrange and manage more than $1.4 billion Islamic finance capital market deals in Turkey in the last 18 months, making it the most active United Arab Emirate bank in the country.
“Turkey’s economic growth and strength make it an attractive market for Gulf investors,” Alqemzi said.
He said the Turkish deals led by Noor have been very well received by the global markets as demonstrated by the participation of over 55 institutions from 15 countries across Europe, Africa, Asia and Middle East.
The latest of the shariah-compliant transactions is a $350 million dual-currency Islamic-structured murabaha syndicated financing facility for Albaraka Türk, a participation bank in Turkey.
“Launched at $150 million, the facility was more than two times oversubscribed to close at $300 million and has in fact become the largest Islamic-structured syndicated financing facility raised by any Turkish financial institution, Alqemzi said.
Noor has an active pipeline of deals for the rest of this year and leading into 2012 regarding Turkey, he said.
“The deals that we are close to concluding will be worth nearly $600 million,” Alqemzi said. “We are setting records, while at the same time pushing the boundaries of existing Islamic banking business in Turkey.”
According to Alqemzi, Turkey currently is the top priority for the bank since Turkey’s interest in Islamic banking is rapidly increasing.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Bahrain, Kuwait Oman, Qatar, United Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates already reached a total investment of $10 billion in Turkey as of the end of the last year, Alqemzi said.
“Noor is pleased to work with its Turkish partners,” he said, adding that Noor might launch a branch in Turkey.
The total trade volume between Turkey and the six member states of the GCC reached approximately more than $17 billion last year.