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Oman’s first Islamic bank sees profit in 2014

Bank Nizwa to elect new board in July – CEO; Says to begin operations two weeks after board election; Bank Nizwa raised $156 mln in June IPO


July 1, 2012 5:13 by


Oman’s Bank Nizwa, a newly formed Islamic lender which sold shares to the public in June, expects to post its first profit in 2014 and will elect a new board this month, its chief executive said on Sunday.


“We aim to make our first profit in 2014 though we would like to make it happen sooner, in the first year of our operation, but that may not be possible,” Jamil Al Jaroudi, CEO of Bank Nizwa, told Reuters in an interview.


Jaroudi said the bank’s new board would be elected in a shareholders’ meeting set for July 31.


The lender failed to elect a board after it was unable to get the required quorum at a general meeting last month, three sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.


“We will start our operation two weeks after that (electing board) with three branches, in Nizwa, Soharand Muscat. Eighteen months after the start of our operation, we hope to open about seven branches nationwide,” Jaroudi said.


Bank Nizwa, the sultanate’s first Islamic bank, attracted 681 million rials ($1.77 billion) of bids in its initial public offering, 11 times the sum it planned to raise, signalling strong interest from investors.


It eventually raised 60 million rials ($155.9 million) in the 40-percent IPO.


Its shares surged 13 percent on its first day of trading, on June 10, but have given back most of those gains to trade slightly above its 102 baisas offering price on Sunday.


Jaroudi said that oversubscription of the bank’s IPO was “a good indication” and he hoped the returned funds will be used by customers as deposits.


“It shows that we are well placed and there’s a healthy appetite for a fully fledged Islamic bank in Oman,” the Bank Nizwa’s CEO added.


Bank Nizwa was the first IPO this year in Oman. The country’s market regulator has said it expects three to four new listings in 2012.


While neighbouring Gulf States have ramped up Islamic finance services in recent years, Oman stood out by refusing to participate in the industry. The central bank reversed that stance last year, partly to prevent the outflow of Islamic funds.


Sharia-compliant lender Al Izz International Bank, Oman’s second lender to be licenced for Islamic operations, had been expected to issue an IPO of 40 percent of its 100 million rials capital by June this year.


Bank Nizwa shares closed up 1 percent at 104 baisas on the Muscat bourse Sunday.

(Editing by Dinesh Nair and Jason Neely)


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