(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Mawarid Finance, a Shariah-compliant finance company, plans to focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2010, which contribute a major portion of the UAE economy, its Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Musabbeh Al Neaimi said.
"We are focusing on SMEs, we see great potential in it. Mawarid is not just like other players in the field, we entered into the Islamic financing with the aim to add value to the industry," Al Neaimi told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview.
Dubai-based Mawarid Finance, a private joint stock company with a paid-up capital of Dh1 billion, is a pioneer in the world for introducing e-Murahaba — finance at your finger tips.
Murahaba, a Shariah-compliant sale, where the seller expressly mentions the cost he has incurred on the commodities to be sold and sells it to another person by adding some profit or mark-up thereon which is known to the buyer.
"With Mawarid's e-Murabaha service you're just one click away from buying what you need for your business from wherever you have an internet connection," explained
Al Neaimi, who is also head of Al Jazeera Financial Services board — a subsidiary of Mawarid.
"The e-Murabaha provides complete control on finance in real time. It's a product that uses technology coupled with traditional values to bring the best of both.
Mawarid Finance is the only finance company in the UAE that is completely independent," he said.
"The company's shares are distributed across more than 350 shareholders, with companies or organisations owning not more than 5 per cent each of the capital and no individual shareholder's stake exceeding 2.5 per cent. The arrangement gives the company the operational freedom to secure a leading position in the Islamic banking market in the region as the flagship of an all-inclusive financial group operating in the realm of banking, finance and business," said Neaimi.
Innovative ideas, futuristic approach and commitment to the industry have set path for Mawarid Finance to perform extremely well in 2010, he said.
Al Neaimi, is one of the visionaries who developed the concept of Mawarid Finance as the ﬁrst independent Sharia'a complaint ﬁnance company, that brought fresh and innovative solutions to the ﬁnancing sector in the UAE.
"Mawarid as an idea came out in 2006," he recalled. "We worked as a group, most of us are still together in the board of Mawarid. Initially, we wanted to establish a bank," Al Neaimi said.
Al Neaimi, who done his MBA from Stratford University, USA, is one of the prominent ﬁnance executives in the UAE. He brings in nearly 20 years' experience in banking and ﬁnance to Mawarid's board of director.
"Establishment of Takaful House PJSC, a subsidiary of Mawarid Finance, is our major achievement. Takaful House was launched by the Group as a public joint stock company with a share capital of Dh100 million. Takaful House PJSC was enlisted on Dubai Financial Market on August 4, 2008. With an aim to invest into successful companies with complementary operational activities, Mawarid Finance also acquired Al Jazeera Financial Services," he said.
"We were planning to raise Dh55 million from the market for Takaful House. It was oversubscribed, highest in the Middle East, the application we received reached Dh6 billion. That is an ample proof of the trust that people have on Mawarid and the management of the Mawarid," he said.
The strategy of Mawarid's management is focused on identifying all investment opportunities both local and international business sectors, Al Neaimi said.
"Mawarid Finance acquired one per cent share of Etisalat Egypt, a 16 billions Egyptian pound capital company, which is partly owned by Etisalat UAE. Other investments included First Investment Bank, one of the investment enterprises of Mawarid Finance Group in Bahrain," he said.
The CEO said that in the first two years earning was 12 per cent and the company passed on five per cent to its investors. However, he admitted that last year was not good compared to previous years.
"It was not in terms of operating profit as we are making a good operating profit, the depreciation or impairment is in the value of assets."
In many countries, where Mawarid is not directly investing its assets, where we have some associates, we are negotiating with them, he said.
"They are willing to get assistance from Mawarid. The board members of Mawarid have collective experience of more than 100 years in banking or financing sector. They want to utilise that experience to establish and run their institutions successfully," said Al Neaimi.
"We have developed the concept of establishing a new financial institution. I have written down every step of it, and get it certified from ISO and achieved a couple of quality awards on it."
He said that an Indian firm was interested to establish a finance house in India and people from Canada and Sweden and some other western countries were also interested to replicate same ideas in their countries.
"We want to develop the idea of Islamic banking in the world, for that reason we are more than willing to share our experience with others. We will guide them, every possible help we could offer them we will not hesitate. We will assist them in every manner to replicate the system in their country, even though we are not directly investing capital, yet we are willing to invest the knowledge, information and experience against a nominal charge which we are agreed."
By Muhammad Riaz Usman