|IIB Announces Leadership Sponsorship for WIBC 2008
December 2nd, 2008
International Investment Bank (IIB), a globally focused Islamic investment bank based in the Kingdom of Bahrain , has announced that it is the Leadership Sponsor of the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) in Bahrain on November 24th -25th, 2008.
WIBC has been successfully showcasing the world’s Islamic banking expansion for the past 15 years and bringing together market leaders to meet, debate, and address real business needs in the industry. IIB is pleased to support this significant event in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Aabed Al-Zeera, CEO commented: “WIBC represents an excellent platform for IIB to promote and differentiate itself amongst the best market players and to increase the regional and international awareness of its products” and added: “with our new projects and geographical expansion, the conference will allow IIB to introduce its diversified and innovative products to a larger target segment of discerning and sophisticated investors”.
One of IIB’s recent investment offerings is “EcoTowers” in Abu Dhabi, an environmentally friendly commercial and residential property which innovatively combines modern luxuries with energy and resource-efficient features and designs. The towers will become the first certified Platinum LEED buildings in the Middle East. Mohamed Hadi Mejai, Executive Director of Business Development and Direct Investment says: “Such unique projects re-enforce our position in the conference as the “Leadership Partner” and will continue to introduce more pioneering products in the future.”
IIB also recently launched a mortgage finance company with a strategic partner in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a dynamic new venture mandated to offer Shari’ah compliant mortgage finance products and services to the Saudi market. Despite the international financial crisis, the Saudi market is still attractive and substantially under served in terms of access to competitive Sharia compliant mortgages. There is a ever increasing and robust demand for housing and the market has not reached price levels prevailing in other GCC markets. IIB expects to play an important role in boosting the real estate market in the Saudi market. In addition, IIB will soon launch an opportunistic land acquisition platform positioned as the “Dream Home” in North Africa, primarily Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, that should provide an attractive return on investment.
Mr. Mejai is a speaker at the Conference and will discuss the impact of the current global financial crisis on the region and in particular on the Islamic investment banking sector. He says: “Although the GCC has been affected by the financial crisis, the fundamentals for recovery are much stronger here and the region is expected to grow by an average of 6% in the coming year. Populations are increasing; there is absorption capacity in several sectors such as infrastructure, education, health and food; there is still ample liquidity; and more income to come from oil and gas even if oil prices stabilize at USD 50 a barrel”. Real estate, as an investment product, may slow down while private equity may flourish. Valuations will be more attractive; merger and restructuring opportunities may emerge in this context. Leverage would still present a challenge and investors may be required to put up more equity. Quasi-equity and mezzanine financing could also be very attractive asset classes. If one buys now and has an investment horizon of 3-5 years, the market should then have recovered and would provide attractive exits at good multiples. Land acquisition and metals could attract some liquidity if the stock market keeps under-performing, while inflation is rising and investors fear placing funds with commercial banks.