Monday, September 22, 2008

Bahrain’s Unicorn keen on investing in Malaysia

By Habhajan Singh & Ishun P Ahmad
Bahrain-based Unicorn Investment Bank (Unicorn), an Islamic investment bank with an outfit in Malaysia, is actively looking at investing in a number of areas locally, with plantation and real estate emerging strongly on their list.
"They have come and done their research some time ago," said chairman of Unicorn International Islamic Bank Malaysia Bhd (Unicorn Malaysia) Datuk Vaseehar Hassan.
Vaseehar said that the investments will probably be driven initially out of Bahrain until the Malaysian outfit has "enough size" to handle them locally.
Unicorn Malaysia, the first Islamic bank licensed under the Malaysian International
Islamic Financial Centre
(MIFC) initiative, received permission to set up its operations from Bank Negara Malaysia early this year.
The Islamic banking outfit, which is licensed to conduct cut out non-ringgit transactions, is said to already have a number of deals in the pipeline and is reportedly confident of posting a profit by year-end.
However, when investing in the plantation sector, Unicorn will have to take into account the lower valuations of plantation assets due to the recent fall in crude palm oil prices and the current bearish sentiments on the edible oil.
"This, however, also provides opportunity in cheaper plantation assets," an analyst said.
According to him, the plantation sector continues to be relevant as CPO is likley to
rebound in the near- to medium-term. Hence, plantation assets would likely be revised upwards if this pans out.
In a recent interview, Vaseehaar, formerly chairman of RHB Islamic Bank Bhd, told the The Malaysian Reserve that Unicorn Malaysia had several deals in the pipeline, including a couple of mandates already signed that its teams are working on.
(The Malaysian Reserve, Page 1, Sept 23, 2008)

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