Kazakhstan's Al Hilal Islamic Bank eyes regional footprint

Kazakhstan's Al Hilal Islamic Bank may expand into neighbouring countries as legislative efforts to develop Islamic finance gather pace across the region. Legislation is being redrawn in Kazakhstan, after the first set of Islamic finance rules in 2009 failed to spur much activity. Almaty-based Al Hilal, whose parent is wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi government, is considering increasing its geographical presence as part of its 2015 business plan, chief executive Prasad Abraham said. A draft amendment, currently awaiting discussion in Kazakhstan's parliament, would provide the bank with a clearer framework that could translate into better commercial opportunities, Abraham said.