March 4 Bahrain's Al Salam Bank has
launched a listed sharia-compliant real estate investment trust
(REIT) that will invest in a portfolio of Asian properties, the
lender said on Tuesday.
The REIT will invest in between 15 and 35 properties and be
managed by Swiss-based B&I Capital AG, with Al Salam providing
seed capital for the fund. The Islamic lender did not reveal the
expected size of the fund.
Al Salam said the REIT would offer a more liquid tool to
invest in real estate, an asset class favoured in Islamic
finance, which follows religious guidelines such as bans on
tobacco, alcohol and gambling.
"The fund aims to deliver benefits of diversified real
estate ownership in Asia while avoiding many of the pitfalls of
holding physical property and real estate developer equities,"
said deputy chief executive Anwar Khalifa Al Sada.
Al Salam was an anchor investor in the Sabana Industrial
REIT, which was listed on the Singapore exchange in
2010 and was one of the world's first REITs to adopt Islamic
REITs are relatively scarce in Islamic finance, although
conventional ones are well-established in mature markets such as
Singapore and Australia.
A handful of Islamic REITs have been launched, including
Dubai Islamic Bank's Emirates REIT in 2010. Malaysia now has
three listed Islamic REITs: Axis Real Estate Investment Trust
, Al-Aqar Healthcare REIT and KLCC Real
Estate Investment Trust.
(Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Andrew Torchia)