Formation of the world’s biggest Islamic bank was announced at a press conference in Manama on 5 March. The bank, called Al-Mushref, will have authorised capital of $10,000 million and initial paid-up capital of $5,000 million.

The founding funds will be raised through subscription from private investors and an initial public offering (IPO) of up to 60 per cent of capital by the end of the year – with the final percentage dependent on the level of interest from private investors. The founding committee consists of a number of regional high net worth regional individuals, led by Khaled bin Ahmad al-Suwaidi.

The bank will be headquartered in Manama and has been granted preliminary approval by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA – central bank) following submission of its business plan and other details. Final approval is awaited.

Several large new Islamic banks have been mooted in the region in recent years. Al-Mushref is the second greenfield Islamic bank to be launched since the start of the year. In January, an IPO was staged of Qatar’s $2,000 million Al-Rayyan Bank, which attracted enormous investor interest (MEED 3:2:06).