Singapore lender, ME investors launch Islamic bank

Singapore's DBS Group Holdings Ltd. and a group of Middle East investors on Monday launched the city-state's first Islamic bank, which will focus on commercial banking, corporate finance, capital markets and private banking services. The Islamic Bank of Asia will have an initial paid-up capital of US$418 million, but this will rise to about US$500 million in the coming weeks after a second round of fundraising with investors from Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, countries, DBS said in a statement. DBS, Southeast Asia's largest bank by assets, has an initial 60 percent stake in the Islamic bank after contributing US$250 million to its startup capital, but this will fall to 50 percent following the second capital raising. The bank will be based in Singapore and start operations this month.