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Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Malaysia bank plans to sell Islamic banking business stake

KUALA LUMPUR: Malayan Banking Bhd keen to grow its Islamic banking business through the sale of a stake in its Islamic banking subsidiary to a strategic partner, or through mergers and acquisitions, chief executive Amirsham Aziz said last week. “We are in discussions, but we’re open to strategic tie-ups and a stake sale,” Amirsham told reporters at an event in Kuala Lumpur to announce the establishment of a standalone Islamic bank. Under Malaysian rules, foreign investors are allowed to take up 49% of an Islamic bank. “We see our growth path to be both organic and inorganic and will continue to look out for value creation opportunities by way of strategic alliances or through mergers and acquisitions,” he said. Maybank’s Islamic financing and deposits business are expected to grow 15% in the current financial year ending June 30, Amirsham said. “Portfolio growth is anticipated to be at least 2.5bn ringgits, driven by Islamic term loans for business, contributing 40%, and hire purchase and Islamic mortgages, contributing about 27%” he said. Maybank currently has 12 full-fledged Islamic banking branches in Malaysia, in addition to 376 branches and 20 private banking centers offering Islamic banking products and services. Over the past five years, Maybank’s Islamic banking assets have doubled, helping the banking group command a 25% share of the Islamic financing market as of end-October. Maybank has an asset size of more than 23bn ringgits, Amirsham said. Many of Malaysia’s banks, including CIMB Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd, already have Islamic operations to cater to the country’s roughly 16mn Muslims and to cement Malaysia’s place in the growing global Islamic financial sector. Malaysia has 46 banks, including 10 Islamic banks. Foreign banks have also been showing strong interest in Islamic finance. – (Dow Jones Newswires, 2 Jan 08)

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