Photo: A Sberbank office along Tverskaya Street in Moscow, Russia, on January 4, 2020. Kapustin Igor/Shutterstock

Islamic Finance

Russia’s Sberbank to set up office in Abu Dhabi, exploring opportunities with Mubadala including in Islamic finance

Russian state-owned Sberbank will establish a presence in Abu Dhabi by the end of the year, it said in a statement on Tuesday (September 22).

The largest bank in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe is looking to promote investment activity by implementing its clients’ projects in both conventional and Islamic finance through cooperation with funds, financial institutions and other bodies in the Middle East.

Sberbank has also signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi sovereign investor Mubadala Investment Company to “explore opportunities of mutual benefits”.

The agreement covers cooperation in areas including co-investments, debt and equity financing, long-term financing of Mubadala projects in Russia and other territories.

It also includes the potential cooperation and investments in a broad range of areas including Islamic finance, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, life sciences, venture capital, telemedicine and education.

Mubadala has $232.2 billion of assets under management. The biggest portion of its portfolio is parked in North America (38%), followed by UAE (28%) and Europe (20%).

In 2019 Mubadala consolidated with Abu Dhabi state investor International Petroleum Investment Company and Abu Dhabi Investment Council. It made $14.4 billion in total comprehensive income compared to $3.4 billion in 2018.

Sberbank held 30.9 trillion rubles in assets in August. In 2019 it reported 96.2 million active retail clients and 2.6 million active corporate clients. It posted 845 billion rubles ($11.07 billion) in net profit last year, up from 832 billion rubles in 2018.

The bank is new to Islamic finance. In August it announced that it had structured a trade finance deal, its first-ever, with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC). The deal was handled by its subsiiary bank in Switzerland. 

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