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Borrower view: Tamweel looks beyond Dubai for growth

Tamweel controls one-third of Dubai’s burgeoning mortgage market. In the wake of the company’s issuance of the Gulf’s first ever internationally rated securitization, Dominic O’Neill talks to the company’s CFO and CEO.


CEO: Adel Al-Shirawi
CFO: Gaurav Agarwal
Ownership: Istithmar, 21.6%; Dubai Islamic Bank 19.9%; other founders, 3.5%; general public on Dubai Financial Market, 55%
Flagship product: Ijara-style Shariah-compliant mortgages
Recent financing: $210 million RMBS priced July 2007 through Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered; plans for further $300 million convertible bonds and $500 million sukuk by the end of 2007

Adel Al-Shirawi is not overly modest about his company’s plans to expand abroad. "We should win the Nobel prize for this," he says. Perhaps he acquired a taste for international accolades after becoming one of the World Economic Forum’s Young World Leaders earlier this year. It is certainly a testament to his ambition that this US and British-educated 37-year-old, for the past three years the CEO of one of the two biggest UAE mortgage providers, can compare the influence of his firm’s ventures to those of Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed Yunus.

But Tamweel, unlike Yunus’s Grameen Bank, does not advance microcredit. On the contrary, Al-Shirawi thinks Tamweel’s ability to make bigger loans available to more people will be the benefit his company will bring to such countries as Saudi Arabia, where he says many people find it hard to raise loans above the $50,000 to $70,000 range.

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