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KFH 'optimistic' on Q4, eyes expansion

Kuwait, November 4, 2008

Major Gulf Islamic lender Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is 'optimistic' about fourth-quarter profit and is going ahead with an expansion in the Gulf and in Asia, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Mohammad Al-Omar told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit that KFH wanted to spread its presence in the Gulf states and planned to set up an investment firm with a capital of SR500 million ($133.3 million) and also a branch in Saudi Arabia.

He reiterated KFH wants to expand in Turkey and have 113 branches by year-end, from 100, to become a major player there.

In addition, KFH, the biggest Kuwaiti bank by market value, wants to open a branch in the UAE and is also interested in Oman and Qatar, Omar said at the summit, held at the Reuters office in Kuwait.

KFH is also considering expansion into Hong Kong where the government had invited it to explain the business model of Islamic financing, which does not allow the receipt of interest.

'We are optimistic,' Omar said, when asked about fourth-quarter profit expectations, adding that the bank was continuing to lend. In the third quarter, net profit rose by 4.9 per cent.

The Kuwait banking system, which has seen the country's fifth largest lender Gulf Bank rescued by the central bank after it was hit by derivatives
losses, was stable, Omar said.

And the Kuwaiti economy offered lending opportunities with major infrastructure projects planned, he added.-Reuters




Tags: KFH | Expansion | optimistic |

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