Sunday, October 5, 2008

Maybank to consider strategic mergers for Islamic banking

Maybank to consider strategic mergers for Islamic banking

KUALA LUMPUR: Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) will consider any strategic alliance or mergers and acquisitions that will create value for its Islamic banking business.

President and chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Amirsham A Aziz said the group planned to expand its wholly owned Islamic banking subsidiary, Maybank Islamic Bhd, in terms of geographic frontiers in the short to medium term.

"We are open to any idea of strategic alliance. At the moment, there is no such discussion but we are open to it.

"We will look at institutions or parties which have a wider distribution network beyond Malaysia and with credible and proven track record in terms of growth in Islamic banking," he told a media briefing on the establishment of Maybank Islamic on Friday.

Under Bank Negara regulation, Islamic banks can sell up to 49% of its stake to foreign investors.

Maybank Islamic will kick off operations on New Year's Day. Maybank's current head of Islamic banking Ibrahim Hassan will lead the subsidiary as acting CEO.

Amirsham anticipated Islamic financing and deposits to grow by about 15% respectively for the current financial year ending June.

"Portfolio growth is anticipated to be at least RM2.5bil driven by Islamic term loan for business contributing 40%, and hire purchase and Islamic mortgage contributing about 27% respectively," he said.

The establishment of Maybank Islamic reaffirmed on the group's focus on three key strategic businesses - international currency business unit (ICBU), Islamic investment banking and Islamic wealth management - to further grow its leadership in Islamic banking locally and compete aggressively in the global Islamic market.

Amirsham said in addition to the lender's stronghold in domestic Islamic business, it wanted to capitalise on the offshore Islamic business.

"The ICBU will enable us to offer a wider range of Islamic banking products at more competitive prices. Our top priority is to support Malaysian companies who intend to tap the international market for their fund raising particularly via Islamic instruments," he said.

The bank's second area of focus was in pursuing growth opportunities domestically in the Islamic investment and capital market.

Maybank Islamic would also concentrate on Islamic wealth management locally and at targeted overseas markets, said Amirsham.

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