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Saturday, 1 September 2007

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) planning to buy RHB Bank assets

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuwait Finance House (KFH) wants to buy 20-30 branches of Malaysia's RHB Bank, the chief of the Gulf bank's Malaysian unit said yesterday. RHB Bank, a wholly owned unit of RHB Capital, Malaysia's fourth-largest lending group, had said this month that it would start talks to sell its branches, assets and liabilities to KFH. RHB Bank has obtained regulatory approval to start the sale talks but the Malaysian unit of KFH was still awaiting the nod from Malaysia's central bank to begin discussions. "Once we get approval, we will then commence negotiation," Salman Younis, head of Kuwait Finance House's Malaysia office, said on the sidelines of an Islamic finance conference. Asked if the Middle Eastern bank was looking to acquire 20-30 RHB Bank branches, Salman said: "Subject to negotiations, yes that is our wish. We have to wait and see." RHB became the property of Malaysia's Employees Provident Fund after the state pension fund controversially emerged the winner of a March takeover battle for RHB Group, beating out rival bids from Kuwait Finance and small lending group EON Capital with its $3.6 billion offer.

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