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Leading Islamic Bank To List On DIFX

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

01 September 2006

Albaraka Banking Group, Bahrain’s leading international Islamic bank, will become the first organization from Bahrain and the first Islamic banking group from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region to announce the listing of its shares on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX).

The listing follows an initial public offering by ABG, and will take place on September 4 simultaneously with a listing on the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE).

The IPO of ABG consisted of 188.9 million shares, of which 120 million new shares represented an increase in capital of US$370 million at the IPO issue price of US$3.08 per share. The new capital was fully subscribed to and the offer period closed successfully on 15 June 2006.

“This is a historic day for Al Baraka. Our share offering met with an overwhelming response from leading institutions and investors from across the region," Adnan Ahmed Yousif, CEO of ABG said.

"ABG plans to use the proceeds raised from its IPO to finance its aggressive international expansion plans in addition to strengthening its position in the domestic market and regional markets where it is present," Yousif added.

ABG enjoys a prime position within the Islamic financial services industry, with authorized capital of US$1.5 billion, equity of more than US$900 million, and total assets exceeding US$6.3 billion. It is also a major force in retail banking, corporate banking, treasury and investment banking with operations in ten countries.

Asked to comment on the Bank’s plans for the future and whether it would consider such options to raise its capital in future, Yousif said: “We are open to all possibilities that we believe will best serve the interests of the bank and its shareholders".

He went on to say that the strategy of ABG is to enhance the capital resources available to its subsidiaries, to expand its business profitably and thereby further strengthen its market position.

“In addition, the Bank has plans for geographic expansion into new markets either through acquisitions or through establishing new subsidiaries. We are also currently instituting measures to enhance research & development of innovative Islamic products that are tailored to ABG’s target markets," he explained.

"The rationale behind our decision to list our shares with the DIFX is because it is one of the fastest growing international stock exchanges and has earned the respect of the global financial community for its development of a strong, transparent and well-regulated market", Yousif concluded.

Welcoming ABG to the Exchange, Nasser Alshaali, the Chief Operating Officer of the DIFX said: "We are delighted to welcome ABG as the first company from Bahrain to list on the DIFX. ABG will benefit from its participation in one of the
world’s leading regulatory and corporate governance environments.

This IPO by a prominent regional company further demonstrates the stature of the DIFX as the region’s international exchange," he added.

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