x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

US Islamic assets manager set to delist

Shariah Capital is to delist from London's Alternative Investment Market after it reports poor appetite for hedge fund investments among Gulf investors.

Shariah Capital, an Islamic asset management firm based in the United States, is to delist from London's Alternative Investment Market (Aim) after a seven-year string of losses.

The hedge fund manager, which operates in the Middle East and has reported annual losses every year since 2005, said in a market message it would seek a cancellation of the shares.

"In the directors' opinion, the Aim quotation has not provided the company's shareholders with a liquid, or even semi-liquid, market for its common shares."

The US$300,000 per year cost of maintaining the listing is better spent elsewhere, the company said. The company's chairman and chief executive, Eric Meyer, alongside his family trusts, own 76.95 per cent of the voting rights - meaning the 75 per cent threshold needed to complete the delisting will be easily met. The bank's shares fell 30 per cent to 35 US cents yesterday. Shariah Capital suffered three board resignations last year, including Sheikh Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, an Islamic finance specialist.

Last month, the company announced another year without profit, widening losses to $463,984 for last year compared with $353,954 during the previous year, which it attributed to the impact of the euro-zone debt crisis and Arabian Gulf investors' reticence to invest in hedge funds.

In its annual earnings statement in June, the company said it "does not believe ultra cautious Gulf investors will change their mood until the current crisis of sovereign credibility is demonstrably behind us."

The company added it would seek business outside the Middle East for the first time.

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, the free zone authority for Jumeirah Lakes Towers, is one firm exposed to the delisting as a result of its 4.99 per cent stake in Shariah Capital, which it purchased in March 2008 for $5.5m.