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Bahrain's Al Baraka sees Syrian Affiliate IPO in Oct - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, (Reuters) – Bahrain’s Al Baraka Banking Group will open the initial public offering of its Syrian affiliate in October and expects full-year profit to be similar to 2008, bank executives said.

Speaking to Reuters late on Wednesday at its annual general meeting in Jeddah, chief executive Adnan Ahmed Yousif said Bahrain’s largest Islamic bank by market value said net profit would be close to “what we have already disclosed in 2008”.

The bank said profit in the second quarter fell 16.6 percent year on year to $49 million, citing the challenging economic environment. It posted a $113.7 million profit in 2008, according to Reuters data.

Banks in Bahrain, one of the main financial hubs in the Gulf Arab region, have seen profits decline as they take provisions against a rise in loan defaults, with private Saudi groups Saad and Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros (AHAB) the most prominent companies to undergo debt restructuring.

“In 2008 we had some exceptional income which has not been repeated in 2009, but beside all this the first six months ($92 million profit) have shown that we could achieve what we have already achieved in 2008,” Yousif said, adding it had no exposure to the Saudi groups.

Mamoun Darkazally, general manager of Al Baraka’s Syrian affiliate told Reuters an IPO in Syria would open on Oct. 4 and run for a month.

“We have to raise $35 million, which is 35 percent of the capital, and it has to be sold for Syrians only,” Darkazally said, adding that the bank plans to start operations in January 2010 with a capital of $100 million.

Bank Bemo Saudi Fransi is managing the sale. Emirates Islamic Bank has a 10 percent stake in Al Baraka’s Syrian unit.

The Syrian unit of Qatar National Bank (QNB) said on Aug 15 a 1.7 billion Syrian pounds ($36.9 million) initial public offering was oversubscribed 1.7 times.

$10 BLN ISLAMIC BANK

Plans for a $10 billion Islamic bank, initiated by Al Baraka’s chairman, Sheikh Saleh Kamel are in the final stages and an IPO is planned by the second quarter of 2010, said Yousif, who is advising on the project.

“The private placement (will be closed) either at the end of the year or the first quarter of 2010,” he said.

The bank has raised about $1.5 billion from different financial institutions as well as individuals, he said.

“(For the IPO) I think that we will be starting with $3.5 billion, part of it is private placement and the other part is IPO. It depends how much we achieve in the private placement to enable us to go to the IPO.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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