Thursday May 21, 2009

Govt wants more investment from Islamic venture capital firms

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government hopes more Islamic venture capital companies will be set up to support Malaysia’s aims of becoming the regional hub for Islamic finance.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin said Islamic venture capital was a new area in which the Government sought more investment.

“This is in line with the Government’s aspiration to promote Islamic finance, banking and capital markets as well as their related products such as Islamic venture capital and private equity,” he told a press conference after delivering the keynote address at the Islamic Venture Capital and Private Equity Conference 2009 yesterday organised by Malaysian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (MVCA) and Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM).

He added that given the contracting global credit markets, the promotion of Islamic venture capital and private equity was both appropriate and timely.

To date, only one Islamic venture capital fund has been set up in Malaysia which is managed by Musharaka Venture Management Sdn Bhd, with a fund of RM35mil.

Musharaka was launched last July by Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd, the venture capital arm of Ministry of Finance, as part of its Second Outsource Partners Programme. According to MVCA vice-chairman Shaik Taufik Shaik Yusoff, Musharaka which had not made any investment yet, expected to find suitable companies to invest in this year as it is looking at a few deals currently.

“The fund will primarily lean towards companies involved in information and communications technology as well as high-tech businesses,” he said.

On Islamic banking in Malaysia, Awang Adek said in his keynote address that the sector had registered double-digit growth in the last eight years with an average annual growth of 20% in terms of assets.

“The share of Islamic banking assets in the total banking sector expanded to 16.7% last year compared with 6.9% in 2000.

“And about 60% of the world’s sukuk issuance originated from Malaysia last year. In the first quarter of this year, another RM6.4bil was issued that has made Malaysia a leader in the global sukuk market,” he said.

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