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Dubai Group to invest in Indonesia and Africa

Dubai Group, an acquisitive investment unit of Dubai Holding, is looking for opportunities in Indonesia and several African countries as part of its efforts to become a major player in the financial services business.

The group comprises seven business divisions with interests in areas such as banking, insurance and private equity. Its Dubai Banking Group, which owns a 40% stake in Malaysia’s Bank Islam, has obtained a license in Mauritius. Nigeria and Senegal are among the African countries where it hopes to start operations.

Dubai Banking Group CEO Salam Al Shaksy told reporters on Wednesday night that several opportunities have been identified in Indonesia for Islamic banking operations. “We are in discussions with several parties,” he said, adding that the group will prefer full acquisition of a large financial services company. Shaksy said Bank Islam is expected to make a profit of between $90 million and $100 million (367 million dirham) this year compared to its 2007 profit of $76 million.

He said this is a major turnaround for the bank, which had posted a loss of $400 million in 2006 before the Dubai firm acquired a stake in it.

In other activities, Dubai Group plans to start a healthcare sector fund for joint ventures and acquisitions in India. Its Dubai Insurance Group is also aggressively looking for overseas opportunities and hopes to start operations in Turkey in the next few months. (Gulf News)