The Labuan International Business and Financial Centre, which now has more than 10,000 companies mostly from the Asia-Pacific region, chalked up a 39 per cent jump in its operating income last year to RM39.9 million, reports the Malaysia Chronicle.
Its chairman Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said Islamic finance, leasing and foundations are all expected to continue to track a double-digit growth this year.
Leasing continued to be the top performing sector last year with 72 new companies approved, bringing the total leasing companies to 312.
“The positive trajectory in the Labuan leasing business is complemented by the strong growth in the oil and gas industry,” she said at the release of the Labuan Financial Services Authority’s annual report.
The accumulated assets leased rose to US$38.1 billion (RM122 billion), of which 73 per cent of the assets were derived from the oil and gas industry.
Zeti praised the Labuan Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) efforts for having reinvented Labuan as a premier centre of high repute, and having evolved with the demands of a greater Asia-Pacific region.
“Despite a challenging international financial landscape, the centre has shown growth annually. The FSA worked hard to preserve the stability, and, with new legislation, went into other activities.”
She said the Labuan banking sector, which has 59 players, is well- capitalised and has continued to grow in asset size and expand in loans and advances, with the majority of the loans provided to borrowers in Asean.
Islamic financing activities in Labuan have also registered a significant rise of 46.8 per cent to US$775.6 million in 2013, compared with US$528.5 million in 2012.
Zeti, who is also Bank Negara governor, said two new banking licences were granted, one to a Malaysian bank and the other to a bank from Pakistan.
The total gross premiums for the Labuan general insurers and reinsurers has surpassed the US$1 billion mark for six consecutive years now.
Last year, 19 new licences were granted, comprising four reinsurers, three retakaful operators, three insurers, four captives and five brokers, bringing the total number of Labuan insurance and insurance-related companies to 213.
She also said more oil traders are taking advantage of the Global Incentive For Trading (GIFT) programme, as reflected in the rise in its number from nine to 23 companies last year.
For the financial year ending December 31 2013, Labuan FSA total reserves rose to RM39.2 million.
Labuan also has a greater outreach, said Zeti, referring to the rising collaboration with other countries, which will enable it to address any irregular developments elsewhere.
Apart from the memorandum of understandings (MoUs) with all the European Union countries, it also concluded three bilateral MoUs on information sharing with Tunisia, Taiwan and the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority.