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Islamic finance awards 2008: Best leasing house

Wafra Investment Advisory

Wafra was a pioneer in structured products development when it started offering Shariah-compliant leasing to the international markets about eight years ago. The advisory group’s structured products division has structured, implemented and managed 14 leasing programmes with about $600 million in original equipment cost. Products now range from manufacturing, IT hardware, construction material and telecommunications equipment through to big ticket deals such as aircraft. The group follows two risk profiles. The Ijara leasing funds target investment-grade lessees or higher-yielding growth and emerging lessees.

Wafra’s Ijara funds provide single investor only funding, joint venture participation and equity sharing with other equity sources. This approach has proved attractive to lessors looking to broaden their lease portfolio, achieve portfolio diversification and reduce equipment concentration risk. Typically, lease transactions range from $50,000 to $5 million with terms from one to seven years.

The group stands out not only for its good selection of products but also for its geographical spread. From its base in New York, Wafra is actively seeking cross-border lease transactions and has dealings in Singapore.

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