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Date: 30/09/2010
Tamweel Takeover Fans Amlak Acquisition Rumours

With Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) taking over troubled Islamic mortgage lender Tamweel, the market is rife with rumours that Emaar Properties, which is holding its board meeting today, will decide to offload its stake in Amlak Finance, the other non-bank mortgage lender in Dubai.

The Dubai-based Emaar Properties is the largest shareholder in Amlak, holding 45 per cent of its shares. No other single shareholder owns more than 5 per cent of Amlak’s shares.

Earlier this week, DIB announced taking a majority 57.33 per cent share in Tamweel, in effect ending merger talks between Tamweel and Amlak, which were officially ongoing since October 2008.

Among a battery of rumours, the most plausible is the one suggesting that Amlak will be taken over by Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB), with which the lender has a long-standing relationship. EIB did not respond to this website’s query on acquisition rumours, but a spokesperson hinted that an announcement might be coming in shortly.

“Until announcements are made, we can’t comment,” the EIB spokesperson wrote to Emirates 24|7 while declining a “comment on this at this time”.

Lending credibility to the rumours is Amlak and EIB’s long financial association. In 2008, Amlak Finance signed a Dh1.4 billion Wakala (syndication) facility with EIB to support Amlak’s real estate investments. Even earlier than that, in June 2007, Amlak signed a 360-day, Dh800m Wakala facility with EIB, which was aimed at supporting Amlak’s multitude of activities in the UAE.

“This is the first step of a much more comprehensive relationship between the two leading Islamic finance institutes in the UAE…,” a media statement at that time had said.

Amlak substantially trimmed its losses to Dh9m during the first half of 2010, down from Dh135m during the same period last year.