Monday, February 05, 2007

UK banks expand, UBG stake in RHB, Islamic financial institution strategy

UK banks to enter Islamic banking industry

Bloomberg reports that Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland have begun considering entry in the Islamic banking industry. The report quoted Debashis Day, a Dubai-based partner for Clifford Chance law firm.

Struggle for UBH stake in RHB

There are now four offers for RHB shares held by Utama Banking Group Bhd: one would have RHB Capital shares sold to RHB shareholders and the other three would be sales to either Kuwait Finance House, Primus Partners or EON Capital. Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has agreed to a non-exclusive offer to purchase the UBG stake, Primus Partners has received approval from Bank Negara Malaysia to negotiate with UBG for its stake in RHB, while EON Capital has not yet received approval to negotiate with UBG. KFH has suggested that it will invest RM12 billion (US$3.4 billion) in RHB if its bid is successful.

Islamic Banking strategy

The president of Gulf Finance House (GFH), Esam Janahi, described GFH successes and future plans & strategy at a forum in Kuwait. The statement also provided a detailed description of the new GFH investments in Morocco.

Citigroup Asia head of Islamic Banking, Rafe Haneef, described to The Star (Malaysia) plans for segmenting the Islamic banking market and addressing each opportunity separately.

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