KUALA LUMPUR: A US$500mil (RM1.55bil) private equity fund to focus on global opportunities in the halal industry would be raised over the next three years.
Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who revealed the plans for the fund, said it would be raised in stages by Azka Capital, a private equity advisory firm that focuses on halal industry initiatives.
Abdullah, who is the chairman of its Advisory Board, said the time was now right to create strong opportunities to enable greater participation in the halal sector.
“The demand for halal products and services is expected to increase with the growth of the Muslim population and increasing awareness of the halal standard.
“Now is the right time to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak,” said Abdullah in his keynote address at the World Halal Week Conference 2013, held in conjunction with the World Halal Week 2013.
Abdullah said the prospects for the halal market could be seen from the perspective of the global Muslim population, which is expected to grow to three billion.
“In addition to raising funds for investment, Azka will provide solutions for halal industry players, including advisory services in navigating access to the halal market,” he added.
Azka executive director Darhim D. Hashim said the fund would be raised mainly in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Asia.
“It will not be opened to the public and is for high net-worth individuals and institutions, as we are looking at a first close (first tranche) of US$100mil (RM310mil) (for minimum capital).
“We have significant interest from the United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,” he added.
He also said that the fund was expected to be launched in the first half of 2013.
Azka is the latest initiative to be jointly developed by the World Halal Forum. It will be advised by practitioners from the halal food sector, alongside syariah advisory services, from Amanie Advisors and Dubai-based Dar Al Shariah. — Bernama
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