Dubai Islamic Bank is eyeing expansion in the Gulf region, Far East and East Africa in the wake of recovering results, and the growth strategy could include a combination of on-the-ground operations, partnership and acquisitions, according to its chief executive.

The heavy exposure of the emirate’s largest sharia-compliant lender to the property markets in 2008 forced it to set aside billions of dirhams to cover bad loans, but sustained cost reduction and improving asset quality saw DIB again post strong earnings growth in 2013.

Eagar to embark on its next stage of growth, CEO Adnan Chilwan explained “international expansion is clearly on the agenda. We’re looking towards the Far East and East Africa, we have identified countries on the map and we’ve got a strategy to enter each of them.”

Chilwan didn’t specify exactly which countries DIB was targeting but said expansion could come through the setting up operations on-the-ground, through partnerships or acquisitions.

DIB posted a 66% leap in its Q4 net profit, while its full-year net profit was 42% higher year-on-year. The recovery in Dubai real estate in the past 12 months also means the bank will again begin to look at lending to commercial real estate projects, but on a “selective” basis.

“We had a strategy during our consolidation phase to reduce our commercial real estate sector [exposure], but now markets have improved. While we won’t follow a carte blanche approach, we will do it selectively,” Chilwan said.