Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unicorn Malaysia eyes deals worth RM1b to triple profit

By Sumathi Wong
Unicorn International Islamic Bank Bhd (Unicorn Malaysia) hopes to secure deals worth up to US$300 million (RM1.06 billion) this year and is optimistic of at least tripling its current year’s profit.
"We are not going for billion-dollar projects, but (rather) projects ranging from US$50 million to US$100 million as they are more manageable," Unicorn Malaysia chairman Datuk Vaseehar Hassan Abdul Razack said.
Its corporate and investment banking segments will continue to drive the Islamic bank's ambitions to achieve this target. For its first full financial year last year, it made a profit of RM812,546.
He was speaking to reporters after the signing of a RM101 million joint Islamic financing deal with Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Bhd (Bank Rakyat) for the Citta Mall project, which is being developed by Puncakdana Sdn Bhd and SEB Asset Management. According to Vaseehar, the US$50-US$100 million segment is a niche market for Unicorn Malaysia to focus on.
He said: "We have about three or four mandates in hand, but it's too premature for us to name (any) until we successfully complete them."
Some of the areas that the bank is considering are the oil and gas and shipping industries. The bank, Vaseehar added, is open to talks with Malaysian companies that have plans to go regional.
He noted that Unicorn Malaysia is also looking to collaborate with more local Islamic banks for tie-ups similar to the one inked with Bank Rakyat. Unicorn Malaysia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unicorn Investment Bank BSC of Bahrain.
It offers a full range of non-Malaysian ringgit banking under the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC). The bank focuses on four core areas namely investment banking, corporate banking, treasury and strategic mergers and acquisitions.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on July 22, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on Islamic finance on Mondays, edited by Habhajan Singh)

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