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Experts to probe Islamic corporate finance issues

MANAMA: Senior Islamic bankers and corporate borrowers will gather in Abu Dhabi on Monday for a two-day International Summit on Islamic Corporate Finance (ICFS 2011).

The event, at the Le Royal Meridien, under the strategic partnership of Noor Islamic Bank, will create an ideal platform to bring all key components of the deal-making value chain together - the corporate banking leaders, both Islamic and conventional and the corporate end users of these services - to develop long-term successful business relationships with one another and ensure the objectives of both are achieved.

"With market preferences increasingly shifting towards Sharia-compliant banking and finance, more and more businesses are looking to include Islamic finance as a key component of their funding mix," said conference organiser David Mclean.

"Though Islamic retail banking, Takaful and Sukuk have traditionally been the main industry growth drivers, analysts are becoming more convinced that Islamic corporate finance, which includes syndicated lending, trade finance and project finance, could be poised to be a powerful new growth driver for the global Islamic finance industry - and meet the pent- up demand of corporate borrowers to expand the role of Islamic finance in their funding mix," he added.

"Islamic finance has been emerging as a viable corporate finance alternative, highlighted by several recent landmark transactions both regionally and globally," said Noor Islamic Bank chief executive officer Hussain Al Qemzi.

"However, the Sharia-compliant corporate finance market has not yet realised its full potential as its value proposition has not been fully communicated to its corporate client base.

"We are delighted to be a strategic partner of the International Summit on Islamic Corporate Finance and see this event as a unique platform to engage corporate borrowers in critical discussions that will seek to increase the ratio of Islamic finance in their overall corporate funding mix," said Al Qemzi.

"Islamic finance is becoming an integral part of the global finance industry and has taken its roots in almost all of the Muslim countries but has also been under discussion and penetration in selective Western and Far Eastern jurisdictions," said Mashreq Al Islami chief executive officer Moinuddin Malim.

"Islamic products and services are available for every segment of the industry so long as it has acceptability under Sharia.

"Retail, wholesale, investment, capital markets, asset management, treasury products and solutions are available across broad spectrum to meet the requirements of customers who prefer Sharia-compliant alternatives. Over the last 10 years we have witnessed an increasing appetite for Islamic products and services," he said.



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