Bank seeking approval

Tunisia's El Wifack Leasing has applied to regulators to become the country's third fully-fledged Islamic bank. El Wifack, which has its debt rated BB+ by Fitch Ratings, also said it planned to raise its capital by five million dinars ($3.1m) to 25m dinars, regardless of whether it received approval to operate as an Islamic bank. Currently, Sharia-compliant business accounts for just 2.5 per cent of the Tunisian financial sector with only two fully operational Islamic banks, Zitouna Bank and the Tunisian arm of Bahrain's Al Baraka Banking Group. Last month, parliament approved a law that will allow the state to issue sukuk. The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank has offered Tunisia a financial guarantee to issue a sukuk worth $600m, though the issue could be delayed to 2014 because of political instability and approaching elections.