Islamic investment bank in Egypt wants to buy brokerage

CAIRO, Sept 26 Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:04pm IST

CAIRO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Cairo-based Ridge Islamic Capital is seeking to buy a local brokerage as part of its expansion plan, so that it can offer a full range of sharia-compliant financial services in the country, a company official told Reuters.

"We want to start providing sharia-compliant brokerage services during the fourth quarter of 2012," Ahmed Rizkallah, country manager of Ridge Islamic, told Reuters on Wednesday.

He said his firm was looking for an established brokerage with a solid reputation and a track record, but declined to name any possible targets or specify a potential deal size.

Despite Egypt's current economic troubles, prospects for Islamic finance in the country appear to have improved with last year's ousting of Hosni Mubarak's regime and the election in June this year of President Mohamed Mursi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ridge Islamic plans to develop products in the areas of wealth management and pension funds, Rizkallah said.

Entering Egypt's takaful (Islamic insurance) market is also on the company's priority list, either through the purchase of an existing company or by applying for a licence, but this will not happen before the beginning of next year, he added.

Earlier this month the company said it would have $100 million available to place as capital or to invest in funds over the next two years.

Ridge Islamic was created this year through the acquisition by Dubai-based Ridge Solutions International Holdings of Egyptian asset management firm El Rashad Holding. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. (Writing by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Andrew Torchia)