29 November 2015

Al Baraka Islamic is focusing on the housing sector in Bahrain, the CEO said.

Al Baraka Islamic Bank-Bahrain is interested in purchasing Islamic bonds expected to be issued by the Kuwaiti government before the end of the year, a senior official said.

"We are interested in buying sukuk that the government of Kuwait will issue to cover its budget deficit," CEO Mohamed Isa Al Mutaweh told Zawya on the sidelines of a banking conference in Beirut earlier this month.

Kuwait's finance ministry said in September that it intends to issue bonds and sukuk before the end of 2015 to finance its public deficit, which is estimated to reach KWD 8 billion (USD 26.3 billion).

Al Mutaweh said Al Baraka Islamic is always interested in acquiring government sukuk to maintain capital adequacy.

The CEO said the bank, owned by Al Baraka Group, hopes to achieve growth in assets in line with the expected growth of the global Islamic banking at an annual average of 15-20%.

Real estate financing accounts for around 40% of Al Baraka Islamic's portfolio in Bahrain and Al Mutaweh said the housing sector was expected to see strong activity due to rising demand.

He said the bank is also focusing on supporting small and medium enterprises and had provided BHD 10 million (USD 26.5 million) in funding in less than one year to SMEs through its partnership with the government's Tamkeen program.

© Zawya 2015