Friday March 27, 2009
Islamic bank sees strong demand for issuance from SMEs
Unicorn aims for US$500mil deals from SMEs
KUALA LUMPUR: Unicorn International Islamic Bank Malaysia Bhd, which began its operations last year, aims to achieve transactions totalling US$400mil to US$500mil this year.
Chairman Datuk Vaseehar Hassan Abdul Razack said demand for medium-sized issuance, especially sukuk and cross-border transactions from small and medium enterprises, continued to be strong.
“We are targeting transactions ranging from US$50mil to US$100mil in size,” he told a media briefing yesterday.
Unicorn, the first Islamic bank licensed under the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) initiative, posted a net profit of RM812,546 for the financial year ended Dec 31 (FY08).
The licence allows it to create any Islamic banking product and take deposits in non-ringgit-denominated transactions.
Vaseehar said corporate banking and cross-border transactions as well as the placement of transactions were Unicorn’s main revenue drivers last year.
“We had a large number of cross-border transactions last year, although they were of small sizes,” he said.
The bank closed its books with total assets of RM122.5mil for FY08. As at end-2008, its paid-up capital stood at RM71.9mil.
Currently, Unicorn is working on two mandates on financing with transaction value below US$50mil each.
“This year, we are looking at transactions that require bridging and construction financing as well as placement of equities and funds.
“We hope to work with five Islamic banks compared with two last year,” Vaseehar said.
Additionally, the bank’s transactions would be structured towards the plantation and oil and gas sectors, he added.
Meanwhile, Vaseehar said Unicorn would tap the strength of its parent company, Bahrain-based Unicorn Investment Bank, for its treasury segment, which currently served as an important division for the bank.
Unicorn has four business lines – treasury, corporate banking, investment banking, and strategic acquisitions/direct investment.