Al Rayan Bank Plc will this year study the feasibility of expanding into France after the lender previously known as the Islamic Bank of Britain posted its first profit, said the chief executive officer.

"We see Europe as a big opportunity," Sultan Choudhury, who has worked at the bank since 2004 and is its longest-serving employee, said by phone from London on May 14. "There are a number of countries we would be interested in, but France would be one of the obvious first steps. It's got a big Muslim population, it has a lot of Gulf Cooperation Council investments."

The potential expansion would be the latest example of Britain's Shariah-compliant lenders turning abroad to spur growth. London-based Gatehouse Bank Plc in November teamed with a U.S. investment bank to manage a European finance fund, and Bank of London and the Middle East listed in Dubai in 2013. France has about 5 million Muslims, the most in Europe, and the country was the continent's second-biggest recipient of job-creating investments from the GCC last year.

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