Al-Baraka Investment & Development Company (ABID) – the new company set up by the Saudi Dallah Albaraka Group to look after its banking business – has applied for a banking licence in Bahrain, its chief executive said.

The new company, set up as part of a recent reorganisation of Dallah Albaraka, will act as the holding entity for the group’s worldwide network of 50 financial institutions. It will have a capital of about $1,000 million, chief executive Saleb Malaika told MEED in a recent interview.

The reorganisation divided the more than 300 companies in the group into separate sectors for finance, media and other businesses (MEED 17:5:96) ABID will probably be registered as an offshore banking unit and its balance sheet will include the consolidated assets of all Albaraka banking operations. ‘Initial figures show that the institutions in which we have more than a 50 per cent stake will have total assets of more than $4,000 million,’ Malaika said. He added that financial institutions in which the group has a stake of less than 50 per cent had assets of about $6,000 million.

The group’s financial businesses, which include Islamic banks, insurance companies and investment companies, are primarily run according to Islamic principles. Malaika said ABID would not be set up as an explicitly Islamic bank but would continue to operate along lines established by the group’s banks.

‘We are a financial holding company that will adhere to sharia principles.’ Dallah Albaraka’s banking subsidiaries and investments include Albaraka Investment Company of the UK, Albaraka Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain, Beit al-Tamwil Saudi Tounsi (BEST Bank) of Tunis, Albaraka Turkish Finance House, Albaraka Islamic Investment Bank in Pakistan and Albaraka Bancorp (California) and Albaraka Bancorp (Texas). It also has a group of insurance company subsidiaries and affiliates.