The asset management unit of property developer Cheung Kong (Holdings) (SEHK: 0001) is planning further investments in the lucrative Islamic real estate fund market, tapping the growing number of oil-rich investors in the Middle East.Executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung said the successful launch two years ago of the Al Islami Far Eastern Real Estate Fund by Cheung Kong's asset management arm ARA Asset Management and Dubai Islamic Bank meant the company wanted to expand in that area."The fund has been popular, with assets under management of US$150 million," said Mr Chiu. "We are interested in expanding into the market to tap funds from Middle East clients."He said the company could either expand the Al Islami Far Eastern fund or set up another similar fund. "We have not yet made a decision on which way to go."The Al Islami fund, a real estate investment trust (reit) that invests in Asian property, delivers an internal rate of return of about 15 per cent a year. It is required to conform to Islamic laws that forbid investment in properties involved in the sale of wine or pork.
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