Swiss Firm Soleil Capitale Invests in Philippines’ Al Amanah Islamic and Investment Bank eyes Islamic financing for development projects

Swiss project finance company, Soleil Capitale Groupe GmbH (SCG), has acquired 40% of Al-Amanah Islamic and Investment Bank of the Philippines (AAIIBP), following a winning bid for the bank’s newly issued Series “C” shares.

The acquisition gives SCG multiple seats in the nine-man AAIIBP board of directors, and the mandate to manage the bank moving forward.

“SCG’s investment in AIIBP will pave the way for our entry into the fast-growing Islamic finance industry, which would position AAIIBP to take the lead in the development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM,” SCG CEO, Adhar Srivastava, said. 

“SCG executive vice president, Jyoti Maewall, who led the negotiations with AAIIBP, added: “The synergy of core competencies that this new partnership and collaboration will create will arm us with a new competitive edge in the market place.”

“State-owned AAIIBP is the sole Islamic bank in the Philippines. The Asian Development Bank had said Islamic finance, an equity-based, asset-backed system anchored on equitable risk and reward sharing among investors and project proponents rather than on transaction fees and interests, could potentially be a source of sustainable investment financing for emerging economies.

“BARMM needs massive investments in transportation, communication, health and education infrastructures to attract new industries, spur trade, give rise to tourism, and boost agriculture – and, SCG has the global network and expertise to trigger the inflow of development funds into those areas,” AAIIBP chairman and CEO, Alex Bangcola said.

Islamic finance is on the rise. The Banker, a monthly publication of The Financial Times of London, reported last year that the industry has been growing by 10.6% CAGR since 2006, adding that Asia would be the next growth area.

BARMM, a newly established administrative region with a population of 4.4 million, encompasses five provinces and three cities in the Southern part of the Philippines near the country’s borders with oil-rich Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia.  

Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia are major global Islamic banking players. The Philippines has an existing socioeconomic alliance with these three countries known as the BIMP-East ASEAN Growth Area, which aims to bring inclusive progress to their less developed districts.