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Kuwait Finance House to step up investments in M’sia Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 19:37

CEO: It’s ‘business as usual’ despite ongoing due diligence audit

PETALING JAYA: The ongoing due diligence audit at Kuwait Finance House (M) Bhd (KFH Malaysia) has not interfered with the bank’s aim to step up its investment portfolio in Malaysia.

A delegation from its parent company, led by Kuwait Finance House Group chief executive officer Mohammed Sulaiman Al Omar, recently met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to discuss the group’s intention for further investment in the country.

Specifically, the group is interested to spearhead the establishment of a world-renowned university in Medini Iskandar located in Iskandar Malaysia.

KFH Malaysia chief executive officer Jamelah Jamaluddin, who was appointed less than two months ago, said it was “business as usual” for the bank despite the ongoing due diligence audit.

She said the process was aimed at obtaining an accurate picture of certain transactions and contractual arrangements that had been undertaken over the years.

“This will facilitate a clear perspective of our operations and business to enable us to move forward,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Jamelah said some employees had taken leave to facilitate the exercise and internal re-organisation with the objective of strengthening the bank’s credit team and processes with the intention of improving asset quality.

“The bank will always be guided by pragmatism and act according to the recommendations of the audit team,” she said.

Following the ongoing due diligence audit, RAM Ratings placed the AA2/P1 financial institution ratings of the bank on negative rating watch on March 26.

This is because the audit heightened concerns on the potential for further deterioration in the bank’s asset quality and credit fundamentals.

RAM Ratings had a negative outlook on the financial institution ratings of KFH Malaysia last November, based on the deterioration in the financial metrics of both the bank and its parent.

RAM Ratings said pending comprehensive review, it would maintain close monitoring of the pertinent developments and reassess the ratings when more conclusive information was made available.

Jamelah said the bank also wanted to ensure that its employees were put in positions where their strengths would be fully utilised in line with its talent management strategies.

“We have a strong team in place and it is business as usual for the bank. In fact, we are stepping up our investments in Malaysia.

“Our capitalisation, which is equivalent to US$650mil provides us a strong footing for the bank to expand its portfolio,” she said.

In the same statement, Mohammed Sulaiman said KFH reaffirmed its commitment in its business strategy of fully taking advantage of the enormous opportunities in Malaysia and becoming a partner in Malaysia’s economic growth story.

“We are excited and keen on the country’s new economic model and remain positive on the outlook of Malaysia as it will be the platform for our expansion into the Asia-Pacific region.

“We want to play a vital role in the development of real estate projects in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the introduction of new Islamic financial products,” he said.

FH Group’s interest in the establishment of the university in Medini Iskandar is in line with its vision to have world-class educational institutions in adopting the university of the future concept there.

KFH Malaysia led a consortium to invest about US$329mil in Medini Iskandar via Medini Central Sdn Bhd in 2008.

Source: http://www.iskandarmalaysia.com.my/news/100330/kuwait-finance-house-to-step-up-investments-in-m%E2%80%99sia



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