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Thursday, 8 October 2009

Malaysian pilgrim fund doubles stake in Bank Islam

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Malaysia's state-run pilgrim fund will double its stake in Bank Islam to about 20 percent after taking up preference shares alloted to another shareholder, Dubai Group, the Business Times reported on Thursday, citing sources.
The sources said it meant Bank Islam, Malaysia's No 2 sharia bank, had managed to raise 540 million ringgit ($158 million) to strengthen its Tier 1 capital -- an exercise that stalled after Dubai Group refused the initial offer last week.

Bank Islam then gave its other shareholders Lembaga Tabung Haji, a pilgrim fund holding 23 billion ringgit, and Islamic banking group BIMB Holdings (BIMB.KL), a chance to take up shares alloted to Dubai Group that came up to 216 million ringgit.

Lembaga Tabung Haji, which previously held a 9 percent stake in the firm, took up all the shares, the newspaper quoted the sources as saying. The purchase now dilutes Dubai Group's stake in Bank Islam to 30 percent from 40 percent.

Bank Islam and Lembaga Tabung Haji could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

Dubai Group, an investment vehicle owned by the ruler of Dubai, said last week it was reviewing options for its stake in Bank Islam as it moves its investment focus closer to home. [ID:nL1515289]

If Dubai Group eventually sells its stake in Bank Islam, it could spark a round of consolidation among Malaysia's Islamic banks.

Several Islamic bankers in Malaysia have said Maybank's (MBBM.KL) Islamic subsidiary wants to acquire a stake in Bank Islam. ($1=3.420 Malaysian Ringgit)
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