Investors launch $600 mln Islamic investment firm

MANAMA Tue Oct 6, 2009 6:07am EDT

MANAMA Oct 6 (Reuters) - Investors from Asia and the Middle East on Tuesday launched a $600 million Islamic investment firm called Fajr Capital to make investments in the financial services industry in Muslim markets.

Fajr Capital said in a statement it would launch with an initial funding of $600 million from shareholders that include the sovereign investment funds Khazanah Nasional Berhad from Malaysia, the Brunei Investment Agency and the United Arab Emirates' Abu Dhabi Investment Council.

"We're looking to make investments in financial services in the shareholders' regional markets as well as select, short-term complimentary investments in the broader economy," a spokesman for the company said.

The Islamic finance industry has been hit by the global financial crisis alongside conventional banks as property markets in the Gulf Arab region have suffered a correction and investors globally are holding onto their funds.

Fajr Capital's board of directors is chaired by Sheikh Ebrahim bin Khalifa al-Khalifa, with Iqbal Khan, formerly chief executive of the Islamic banking operations of HSBC (HSBA.L), HSBC Amanah, appointed as chief executive.

The company is based in Dubai with offices in London and Kuala Lumpur. (Click on [ID:nISLAMIC] for more Islamic finance stories and ISLAMIC for a speed guide) (Reporting by Frederik Richter; Editing by Rupert Winchester)