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NEWS UPDATES 10 August 2009

Malaysia’s Bank Islam to acquire stake in Indonesian bank

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Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd (5258) is pursuing a stake in Indonesia's PT Bank Muamalat to expand into the world's most populous Muslim nation, a local business daily quoted sources as saying.

The Business Times said Malaysia’s oldest Islamic bank in Malaysia is ultimately seeking a controlling equity stake and the sources said it was already engaged in talks with several shareholders of the Indonesian Islamic bank.

It is believed to be close to cementing a deal with at least one of the shareholders.

PT Bank Muamalat is Indonesia's largest bank by branch network. It has some 230 branches nationwide and is represented by another 3,800-odd outlets through its collaboration with Indonesian post offices.

The bank, which began operations in 1992, is Indonesia's first Islamic bank. Its biggest shareholders as at end-2008, according to its website, are the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank with a 28 percent stake; Boubyan Bank Kuwait (21.28 percent); Atwill Holdings Ltd (15.32 percent); and individuals Abdul Rohim (6.7 percent) and Rizal Ismael (5.49 percent).

Bank Islam operates primarily in Malaysia, where competition is set to become more intense as more foreign banks are allowed in under Malaysia’s financial sector liberalisation. It is 51 percent owned by BIMB Holdings Bhd and 40 per cent owned by Dubai Investment Group.

Earlier this year, Bank Islam was reported to have been studying a merger with Maybank Islamic Bank but the plan was said to have been put on hold as the two needed to focus on strengthening their respective capital base.


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