WORLD HALAL FORUM REVEALS PLANS
FOR USD500 MILLION GLOBAL HALAL FUND
KUALA LUMPUR, 3 APRIL – The World Halal Forum revealed plans for a USD500 million private equity fund focused on global opportunities in the halal industry. The fund is expected to be raised in stages. The announcement was made by former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi at the launch of Azka Capital at the eighth World Halal Forum.
“There have been global developments in halal awareness, standard and certification, manufacturing and trade in the last decade. It is now time to create strong investments and opportunities to enable more participation in this important halal sector,” said Abdullah.
Global halal sales, including food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, total USD2.1 trillion annually.
Capital is a private equity advisory firm focused on halal industry initiatives and Tun Abdullah is Chairman of its Advisory Board. Azka Capital is the latest initiative jointly developed by the World Halal Forum, globally known for its game-changing halal input and efforts in bridging the gap between the halal industry and Islamic finance sectors. In 2011 the World Halal Forum developed the SAMI Halal Food Index with Ideal Ratings and Thomson Reuters.
“The highly fragmented nature of the industry leaves it ripe for a roll-up strategy while Azka’s proprietary access to deal flow makes it uniquely positioned to capitalize upon the opportunity,” said Rushdi Siddiqui, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Azka Capital.
Mr Siddiqui added that food security has become an integral part of national security policy in part because Muslim countries are net importers of food and generally do not control the supply chains and, hence, the integrity of their food.
“The recent scandals including horsemeat in Europe and, more alarmingly, the evidence of pork DNA in halal certified beef by the very multinational companies responsible for halal integrity should be unacceptable to affected constituencies. Paying lip service to food security is no longer adequate. The Halal Opportunities Fund is the first opportunity for investors and policymakers to take concrete steps toward securing the integrity of their food supply,” he said.
Rushdi added the first-of-its-kind initiative will be supported by satellite activities for deal flow including compliant B2B2C exchange, trade finance funds, PE tranche for HNWs and advisory for restructuring halal food company balance sheets.
"Ethical, Shariah compliant investors have typically relied on various 'filters' to weed out non-compliant publicly available investment opportunities. But these filters are not always reliable and cannot keep up with new opportunities and are typically limited to developed markets. There is a better way – direct equity investing in vetted industries and activities on an international basis. That is what is being offered to investors through the Halal Opportunities Fund. This is major innovation in the ethical investment space”, said Dr Nasser Saidi, Member of Azka Advsiory Board, Founder and President of Nasser Saidi & Associates, and former Chief Economist of Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC).
Azka Capital will be advised by world-class practitioners form the halal food sector, and Shariah advisory services from Amanie Advisors and Dubai-based Dar Al Shariah.
Currently OIC nation food imports exceed USD40bn annually, an overwhelming majority of their consumption. The global Muslim population is expected to increase from 1.6 billion at present to 2.2 billion by 2030.
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