BankMuscat, Oman’s leading bank, is acquiring a majority stake in Saudi Pak Commercial Bank in Pakistan in association with Sinthos Capital, International Finance Corporation, Washington, and Nomura International.
The consortium has already signed the share purchase agreement with Saudi Pak Investment Company (Sapico) to buy a 68 per cent stake in the bank. BankMuscat’s total stake in Saudi Pak Commercial Bank will be 35 per cent. BankMuscat has obtained the necessary regulatory approvals in Oman to go ahead with this investment. An approval from the State Bank of Pakistan, the country’s banking regulator, is currently awaited, said a company spokesman.
Sheikh AbdulMalik bin Abdullah Al Khalili, chairman of BankMuscat, said: “Pakistan and Oman have historically had longstanding economic and social ties. Our entry into the country is, therefore, both strategically and commercially important to us. We will be pleased to be of service to the business community in Pakistan and hope this move will further strengthen our ties with members of the community who are well settled across the GCC region. We definitely look forward to contributing to the economic and social development of Pakistan, even as we take another step towards fulfilling our goal of establishing a presence in countries that have an abiding interest in Oman and the GCC region.”
In line with the agreement, Sinthos Capital will manage the bank.
Saudi Pak Commercial Bank was set up in 2001 and serves clients through a network of more than 50 branches. As of September 30, 2007, the total assets of the bank were $975 million (Dh3.58 billion), while the deposits were $700m.
AbdulRazak Ali Issa, chief executive of BankMuscat, said: “We are very excited about taking our business and services to the country and believe this new international experience will be of significant value both to the banking industry in Pakistan and to BankMuscat.”
Bilal A Moti, head of BankMuscat’s International Operations, said: “BankMuscat is pursuing a prudent and realistic international expansion strategy. Pakistan is a clear opportunity for domestic and regional business.”
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