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Amlak and Barwa plan mortgage finance firm

By Agencies

Amlak Finance said on Sunday it planned to launch a mortgage finance firm in Qatar with Barwa Real Estate to tap a real estate boom in the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

Amlak, the UAE's largest mortgage lender by market value, did not say how much it would own in Amlak Barwa Finance.

"This alliance will play a key role in the development of Qatar's booming housing sector," Amlak Chairman Nasser Al Shaikh said in a statement.

Amlak and Barwa, an affiliate of state-owned property developer Qatari Diar, comply with Islam's ban on lending on interest.

Amlak is 40 percent owned by Emaar Properties, the largest Arab developer by market value.

Amlak, which has expanded into Egypt and Saudi Arabia, said this month it plans to raise 6 billion dirhams in 2008 to fund Middle East expansion, including selling shares in a planned Jordanian affiliate.

The firm is also looking to start operations in Bahrain. (Reuters)