EghtesadOnline: The Securities and Exchange Organization has given the go-ahead to the High Council of Free Zones to issue 3,000 billion rials ($26.2 million) worth of sukuk (Islamic debt securities) to finance development projects in Kish Free Trade Zone, which could rise to 10,000 billion rials ($87.3 million), Secretary of High Council of Free Zones Morteza Bank said.
“Funds raised through the issue of sukuk must be used to invest in infrastructure projects on Kish Island, including the development of Kish International Airport, port and logistics as well as ICT infrastructures,” Bank was quoted as saying by IRIB News.
Sukuk are defined by Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions as “securities of equal denomination representing individual ownership interests in a portfolio of eligible existing or future assets.” These are structured to comply with Sharia by paying profit, not interest, generally by involving a tangible asset in the investment.
Kish is a 91-square-kilometer resort island in the Persian Gulf, off the southern coast of Iran. It is part of the Bandar Lengeh County in Hormozgan Province, according to Financial Tribune.
Owing to its free trade zone status, Kish Island is touted as a consumer's paradise, with numerous malls, shopping centers, tourist attractions and resort hotels.
Kish Island is the third most-visited vacation destination in Southwest Asia, after Dubai and Sharm el-Sheikh. Tourists from many—but not all—foreign nations wishing to enter Kish Free Zone from legal ports are not required to obtain any visa prior to travel.
The island is about to welcome a Turkish investor who will build the Crystal Hotel with an investment of $100 million. The 1,000-room hotel will be the largest investment on the island, Daily Sabah reported in July.
Turkish tourism investor, Kilit Hospitality Group Chairman Tuncay Kilit—the owner of Crystal Hotels scattered across Turkish resort cities, has decided to invest on Kish Island, a recent attraction among Persian Gulf investors.
The hotel will have meeting rooms, separate beaches for men and women, sports areas, a water park, pools and social areas where families can spend time together.
Kish, known as the gateway to the heart of Iran, offers visitors duty-free shopping and investors are exempt from income and corporate taxes for 20 years.
Crystal Hotels, operating under Kilit Hospitality Group, have a network of 18 accommodation facilities in Turkey. Beginning its operations in the tourism and accommodation sector in 2005, Crystal Hotels has become one of the largest hotel chains in Turkey in 14 years. The hotel network has a bed capacity of 20,000 and a workforce of 7,000.
Kilit and Kish Free Trade Zone Managing Director Gholamhoseyn Mozaffari signed the deal last week for the investment project to be built on an area of 10 hectares.
In his address after the signing ceremony, Mozaffari said many investors from Qatar, Oman and Iraq are showing high interest in Kish and noted that investment on the island will rise significantly in the near future.