Bank Muscat $800m bond gets green light

Shareholders of Bank Muscat, Oman's largest lender by market value, on Sunday approved a new $800 million bond programme, allowing the company to tap international bond markets in the future.

Chief Executive Abdulrazak Ali Issa told Reuters after the shareholders meeting that no date for a bond issue had yet been set but that any potential issue could be in different currencies and sizes.

The Omani lender invited banks to bid on arranging a planned bond issue under an $800 million programme, IFR, a unit of Thomson Reuters, reported last week.

Bond sales from the Gulf Arab region are expected to exceed $30 billion by some estimates as pent up global demand for regional paper spurs borrowers to tap international capital markets. But political upheaval in Egypt and contagion fears could dampen appetite.

Bank Muscat made fourth quarter profit of 29.5 million rials ($75.8 million), benefiting from a growth in loans and deposits and decreasing impairment charges.

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