Dubai Islamic Bank’s shareholders approved a proposed increase in the Islamic lender’s foreign ownership limit to 40 per cent, up from 25 per cent previously.

Shareholders also approved a 35 per cent dividend at its annual general meeting, the largest Sharia-compliant lender in the UAE said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares trade.

“Eyeing the tremendous interest from global investors, we have re-opened the doors for more foreign ownership with the enhancement of FOL (foreign ownership limit) to the maximum allowable 40 per cent limit,” the bank’s group chief executive Adnan Chilwan said.

“With the much-anticipated 2020 major economic events, we remain committed to developing the key sectors driving the growth of Dubai’s economy, and ensuring that Dubai maintains its market competitiveness on the global map.”

Dubai Islamic Bank completed its acquisition of Noor Bank, which was majority owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, in January. The deal created one of the world’s biggest Islamic lenders, with total assets of over Dh275 billion. DIB employs more than 9,000 staff across 500 branches in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.



Last month, the bank reported a profit attributable to owners of Dh5bn for 2019, up from Dh4.9bn a year earlier. Its total income rose 17 per cent to Dh13.7bn and net revenue grew 13 per to Dh9.27bn as it focused on “optimal cost management”. Net impairment charges, however, more than doubled to Dh1.76bn at the end of the last year, up from Dh833 million in 2018.

The move to increase its foreign ownership limit is in line with other financial institutions that are raising ownership caps on their stocks to attract more foreign investors, after the UAE eased restrictions last year. In July, First Abu Dhabi Bank, the biggest lender in the country, proposed easing a cap on foreign ownership. Emirates NBD and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank have also sought shareholder approval to lift their caps.

Despite the announcement, the company’s share price fell 3.6 per cent by 12.13pm UAE time on Monday in another choppy day of trading for stock markets, with the overall Dubai Financial Market index 2.3 per cent lower.

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