French Halal food specialist, Bibars SAS, has raised Euro 500,000 ($654,750) worth of Sukuk to fund the opening of a restaurant near Paris called al Farooj. According to a statement, “Bibars, owner of the Master Franchise for France of the Al Farooj restaurant food chain, has benefited from this Sukuk to finance the opening of its first restaurant located in Alfortville (Paris Region).”
The Sukuk will have a tenor of 5 years and an expected profit rate of 8 per cent and represent the first tranche of a Euro 5m serial issue that is hoped will fund a chain of 50 such restaurants across France.
Investors in the Sukuk are clients of the advisory firm 570 Asset Management, specialist in the design and distribution of financial ethical products, acting as Financial Investment Advisor regulated by the French financial services authority, the AMF.
Anass Patel, president of 570 Asset Management told The Islamic Globe, “The feedback we are receiving from abroad presents quite a negative picture about the French market, especially since Mrs. Lagarde is not there anymore to promote Islamic finance and attract investors. But the reality is very different since Islamic finance in France has never been more active on the ground...but quiet for the outside. Indeed, the time of shouting big promises is over, now is the time of doing, with great effort in a more realistic way, propelled by entrepreneurs and believers.”
Patel is alluding to the great promise that Islamic finance seemed to have for France but that the government has done little to encourage. Patel went on to say, “the issuance of this small but truly authentic Sukuk in France, very innovative at least for two reasons, being dedicated for SMEs and structured as asset-backed hybrid Sukuk through a Mudaraba contract…Moreover, there is a lot of things happening on financing and insurance, with our mortgage solution attracting dozens of retail clients putting pressure to have Takaful products, from family to housing to Murabaha finance.”
Atmane Idrissi, the president of Al Farooj France SAS, the issuer of Sukuk said, "We are delighted to have successfully completed the first tranche of this funding which is part of a global project of fifty restaurant openings over the next decade in the French halal food sector which is growing by double-digit."