| April 22
April 22 Pakistan's MCB Bank Ltd will
set up a wholly owned Islamic banking subsidiary while dropping
plans to take a stake in Islamic lender Burj Bank, according to
a filing with the Karachi stock exchange.
Last month, MCB started due diligence on taking a 55 percent
stake in unlisted Burj, which held assets worth 53.3 billion
rupees ($547 million) as of December, but it said it would not
proceed for commercial reasons.
Those plans would have included an additional investment by
the private-sector arm of Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank
, which already holds a 33.9 percent stake in Burj.
Bahrain's Bank Alkhair is its largest shareholder, with a
37.9 percent stake in Burj, which it has classified as
held-for-sale since June 2012.
The move comes amid increased activity in Pakistan's Islamic
banking sector, with regulators stepping up development efforts
and lenders expanding operations in the world's second-most
populous Muslim nation.
Burj Bank is the smallest of five full-fledged Islamic banks
in Pakistan with a network of 75 branches, while MCB operates
the country's sixth-largest Islamic window with 28 branches,
which it established in 2003.
MCB had earlier said it would spin off its Islamic window
into a separate subsidiary with 10 billion rupees in paid-up
capital, using its existing Islamic banking branches to form the
As of December, Islamic banks held a 9.6 percent share of
total banking assets in Pakistan, compared with around 25
percent in the Gulf Arab region.
($1 = 97.5250 Pakistani rupees)
(Editing by Chris Gallagher)