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Al Baraka Islamic Bank seek Europe, Asian expansion

Al Baraka Islamic Bank seek Europe, Asian expansion

(2 February 2016 – Asia/Europe) Bahrain based Al Baraka Islamic Bank is planning to open a sharia-compliant bank in France by 2017 as it seeks to expand into Europe, Chief Executive Adnan Ahmed Yousif said earlier this week.

"We were in the midst of launching an Islamic bank in France, but with the global financial crisis the project was halted, so we are now looking to revive the project again," Yousif said at a banking conference in Egypt's Sharm al-Sheikh.

Al Baraka, which has operations across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, also has plans to buy an Indonesian bank in the next two years, and was in talks with the Indonesian central bank governor, Yousif said.

Indonesia has been seeking to boost its Islamic banking sector, which is small despite being the world's largest Muslim nation, by adjusting rules including loosening foreign ownership limits on local banks.

"We have a representative office in Indonesia, and now is the right time to buy a bank there," Yousif said.

Yousif also indicated that the bank also wanted to launch banking operations in China this year.

In 2015, East & Partners Asia’s research found that Sharia compliance across all Indonesian businesses sat at just over four percent. To find out more about East & Partners Asia’s Islamic Finance Markets Report, contact us.

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