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Sukuk.net launch focuses on Islamic finance

New online portal is dedicated to Islamic bonds, ‘Sukuk’ and Islamic financing

Siraj Capital Ltd., a Shariah compliant investment management company, and alClick Ltd., a leading provider of online services in the Gulf region, have together launched Sukuk.net, an online portal that's dedicated to the world of Islamic finance.

The inception of the portal is in response to a growing number of investors and enterprises seeking Shariah compliant funding and general public interest in Islamic finance.

The international Islamic bond market is divided into sovereign (and quasi-sovereign) and corporate Sukuk (or Islamic note) markets. The Sukuk market, in particular, is seeing rapid growth and Sukuk paper has the advantage of competitive pricing as a risk-mitigation structure.

Sukuk.net will provide investors all the tools necessary to understand the market and analyse the competition and market data. It will also assist firms in developing strategies, market forecasting and identifying new business and investment opportunities.

By logging on to www.sukuk.net, viewers can track global Sukuk activity, market data and register for market tracking analysis tools. The website's Sukuk Wire provides a constant feed of the latest news and information on global Sukuk.

In 2001, the Bahrain Monetary Agency was among the first central banks to issue this paper, in its case in three- and five-year maturities, with most issues oversubscribed. Qatar issued Qatar Global Sukuk with a seven-year maturity, which was the largest issue ever at $700 million.

In EMEA and Asia, Moody's noted that the overall issuance volume of Sukuk increased by 71 percent to $32.65 billion in 2007 compared to the previous year. The number of Sukuk transactions rose to 119 from 109, while the average deal size increased to $269.8 million from $175 million.

The largest proportion of Sukuk was issued in the financial services sector, accounting for 31 percent of total volume, followed by real estate with 25 percent, and power and utilities with 12 percent.

Both foreign and domestic Islamic debt markets are high-growth segments in Islamic finance. Malaysia is a good example of this, where Islamic corporate bonds amounted to $36 billion or 48 percent of the total corporate bonds issued last year. The domestic bond market plays a critical role in ensuring the financing needs of the economy are being fulfilled.

"We have through a collaborative effort with alClick, developed a one stop shop for investment professionals particularly those involved in Islamic financing and Sukuk to find vital and critical information on this segment of the industry," said Ibrahim Mardam-Bey, CEO of Siraj Capital Ltd.

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