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Bank Islam Seals Partnership with European Islamic Investment Bank PLC

KUALA LUMPUR: Monday [17 September, 2007] – Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad has entered into a strategic collaboration with the European Islamic Investment Bank PLC (EIIB), giving it an immediate and significant presence in the European market.

The partnership between Malaysia’s leading Islamic bank and the only listed financial institution offering Islamic investment banking products and services in the UK is expected to enhance the competitiveness of both players in two key market regions.

Bank Islam will gain access to the UK and Europe through EIIB, which is based in London, while EIIB will gain a “foothold” for its expansion in Asia. EIIB currently has a representative office in Bahrain.

The agreement for the strategic collaboration was formalized at a signing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur today. Bank Islam’s Managing Director Dato’ Zukri Samat signed for the Bank, while EIIB was represented by its Managing Director, Mr John Weguelin.

Dato’ Zukri said after the signing ceremony: “Our goal is to tap into EIIB’s established business and investor network and gain access to the vast and fast growing market for Shariah compliant financial products and services in the UK and Europe. In return, we see Bank Islam providing a platform for EIIB’s expansion into the Asian market in their targeted market segments.”

In addition to the access to wider distribution channels through each other’s home base, Bank Islam and EIIB will collaborate in the development of Shariah-based products, sharing each other’s technical expertise and knowledge.

The collaboration will give Bank Islam a brand presence in the UK and Europe immediately, translating the Bank’s “go global” strategy into reality.

“We will have a presence in the market without us setting up physical infrastructure in the region. This approach is more cost efficient,” Dato’ Zukri said.

In the medium term, we plan to tap into EIIB’s skills in investment banking to develop our human capital. We will initiate a staff exchange and secondment programme so that we can leverage on each other’s expertise, he added.

Dato’ Zukri said Bank Islam plans to leverage on EIIB’s strong business lines in treasury products, the capital market, asset management, as well as in corporate finance and advisory – fee-based activities which are in line with Bank Islam’s growth strategy of increasing fee-based income to sustain earnings growth. Bank Islam recently announced a record profit before tax and zakat of RM255.49 million for financial year ended 30 June 2007.
Bank Islam also plans to leverage on EIIB’s access to deal flows and specialist corporate and finance and advisory services such as the sourcing of private equity investment opportunities, regional mergers and acquisition and access to international markets, as well as the access to its asset fund structuring capabilities, as demonstrated in its recent deal flows.

The collaboration in these various business lines will enable Bank Islam to take advantage of the string of incentives announced by the Government in the 2007 Budget proposal to accelerate the development of Malaysia as an International Islamic Financial Centre, Dato’ Zukri said.

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