May 18, 2009 / 9:54 AM / 9 years ago

Malaysia's Maybank Islamic says not eyeing strategic partner

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 (Reuters) - Maybank Islamic, Asia Pacific’s largest sharia bank, is not currently seeking a strategic partner, its acting chief said on Monday, after earlier talk that it would merge with the country’s No. 2 Islamic bank.

“Not at the moment ... not at entity level,” acting CEO Ibrahim Hassan told reporters, when asked if the bank was seeking a strategic partner.

Ibrahim said Maybank Islamic, a unit of Malayan Banking (MBBM.KL), is only interested in partnerships for specific business products such as the joint issue of credit cards.

    He said the launch of two new Islamic financial products on Monday would secure 2 billion ringgit ($562 million) in deposits within one year and 4 billion ringgit in deposits in the financial year to June 2010.

    Malaysian financial group BIMB Holdings Bhd (BIMB.KL) in February denied that it was in talks to merge its sharia banking subsidiary Bank Islam with Maybank Islamic [ID:nKLR408074].

    Talk of a Maybank Islamic-Bank Islam merger came as several other banks in the rapidly growing sector said they were seeking acquisition opportunities to boost their size -- although a global economic slump could put a brake on expansion plans.

    The $1 trillion Islamic banking industry lacks lenders. Saudi’s Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE, which says it is the world’s top Islamic bank, has a market capitalisation of $27.7 billion, compared with Bank of America’s (BAC.N) $68 billion. ($1=3.561 Malaysian Ringgit) (Reporting by Loh Li Lian; Editing by Lincoln Feast) (Click on [ID:nISLAMIC] for more Islamic finance stories and ISLAMIC for a speed guide)

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