Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) is considering three takeovers in 2008 as it plans to expand in the region, a top official said in remarks published on Sunday.
Kuwait's fourth-largest lender plans to expand in the Middle East and North Africa and is looking particularly at Syria and Saudi Arabia, Fauzi al-Atiqi, the bank's investment manager, told al-Qabas daily.
"Investment opportunities have become scarce, and a regional expansion is become inevitable in order to reinforce the existence of the bank," he told the paper. He did not identify the potential targets.
"The boom that's been seen by the banking sector in Syria is no more a secret," he said.
He added that in Saudi Arabia the bank was seeking to expand in non-banking sectors, without being more specific.
Like other local banks, CBK has been trying to expand in the region.
It submitted with Kuwaiti investment firm Noor Financial Investment Co a bid for AlWatany Bank of Egypt but was beaten by larger local rival National Bank of Kuwait in August.
Its bid for Turkish Islamic lender Turkiye Finans also failed to beat that of Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank.
Commercial Bank said in May it had been in talks with unidentified local and foreign investors about selling a stake, but the negotiations ended in May over differences in price. (Reuters)