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Gulf Investors To Launch Islamic Bank In Eurozone

Sandra Kilhof

28 November 2013

Private investors from Gulf countries, including a royal family from the United Arab Emirates, plan to establish the first Islamic bank headquartered in the eurozone, according to the executive in charge.

The firm, Eurisbank, will be launched in Luxembourg during the last quarter of 2014, said Ammar Dabbour, managing partner at Excellencia Investment Management in a statement.

Excellencia, an Islamic fund manager based in Luxembourg, has been contracted with consultants Deloitte to handle procedures for establishing Eurisbank. With initial capital of €60 million ($80 million), the firm will offer retail, corporate and private banking services, and open branches in Paris, Brussels, the Netherlands and Frankfurt.

In addition to the royal family, Eurisbank will be owned by a bank from a country in the Gulf Cooperation Council and other private investors, said Dabbour, who declined to give further details.

The founders of the Sharia compliant bank plan to apply for a licence in January and expect to obtain regulatory approvals by April, Dabbour added.

Earlier this year, a study by Ernst & Young revealed that Islamic trade finance is set to become the preferred investment choice in the next decade as companies look for serious alternatives to traditional channels. Read more on that story, here.