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Islamic investor GII takes majority stake in bridging specialist Offa

  • 30/06/2022
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Islamic investor GII takes majority stake in bridging specialist Offa
Offa, Britain’s first Sharia-compliant short-term bridging lender, has secured a multi-million pound investment from the United Arab Emirates-based Gulf Islamic Investments (GII).

GII is a Shariah compliant global investment company which manages assets across real estate, private equity and venture capital.

The investor owns $3bn (£2.46bn) worth of assets, including property on Bayswater Road, London, and the Lewis Building in Birmingham.

The funding, the exact amount of which has not been disclosed, will enable Offa to deepen and broaden its presence in the UK’s Islamic property bridge finance market, which is estimated to be worth £500m annually.

The investment will also be used to develop Offa’s IT infrastructure and staff recruitment, as the firm prepares for the launch of Sharia-compliant retail and commercial bridge and long-term finance products in 2023.

The funding, coupled with new credit lines and products, is projected to help Offa’s assets portfolio to grow to $1bn over the next five years.

Offa’s was formed in 2019 by property investors Bilal Ahmed (pictured) and is based in Birmingham. It has financed opportunities totalling £178m and its executive chairman is Sultan Choudhury OBE, who founded Al Rayan Bank.

Offa’s chief financial officer is Amir Firdaus who launched the UK first ever public Sukuk, Islamic bond, worth £250m, Offa’s chief commercial officer is Sagheer Malik, who developed a multi-channel distribution of more than £1bn of Sharia compliant property finance.

Mohamed Al Hassan and Pankaj Gupta, GII’s co-chief executives, said: “GII has a track record of investing in high growth businesses in the financial and real estate sectors. We are delighted to back Offa, a flourishing Sharia-compliant finance house with huge potential.”

Offa estimates the value of total addressable UK Muslim property finance market, including home finance, at around £10bn.

It said there is growing demand for better Islamic finance products and services from the UK’s four million strong Islamic community although its ethical funding model also means over a quarter, 28 per cent, of its borrowers are non-Muslims.

Choudhury said: “It’s fantastic to find a partner that supports our thriving business and shares our values. The sky really is the limit for Offa, as demand for our services rocket and our talented team continues to innovate. There is massive potential in the post-Brexit era, allowing Sharia-compliant financial services to achieve year-on-year growth in Britain.”

The UK has become firmly established as one of the world’s leading centres of Islamic finance. It has already overtaken Malaysia as the world’s top Islamic fintech destinations.”

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