DUBAI May 21 Pakistan's central bank has given
Meezan Bank Ltd approval "in-principle" to purchase
the local banking business of HSBC, the
sharia-compliant lender said in a bourse filing on Wednesday.
The statement did not give a price for the deal, which still
requires shareholder approval and final consent by the
The sale is part of a strategy by Europe's biggest bank to
exit from countries where it is unprofitable or lacks scale.
HSBC's Pakistan unit has 10 branches and had assets of about
$455 million at the end of 2013.
In contrast, Pakistani lenders are expanding, buoyed by
regulatory steps to develop the Islamic banking sector in the
world's second-most populous Muslim nation.
HSBC and Meezan Bank agreed the deal earlier this month,
which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2014.
There are five full-fledged Islamic banks in Pakistan as
well as 14 so-called Islamic windows, where conventional lenders
offer Islamic financial services. Several are looking to grow or
spin off existing operations while new entrants are also
(Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Matt Smith and Mark