Kuwait's Noor says to hike stake in Pakistan lender

KUWAIT, June 23 (Reuters) - Kuwait's Noor Financial Investment Co NOOR.KW plans to raise its stake in Pakistani Islamic lender Meezan Bank AMZN.KA to 42 percent from 35 percent, its managing director said on Monday.

“It’s approximately ... $20 million,” Naser al-Marri told Reuters when asked about the cost of the purchase, adding the move would require the approval of Pakistan’s central bank.

Marri also said Noor’s telecommunications unit was expected to start operating in the fourth quarter and to list its shares in Dubai next year and in Kuwait in 2011 after a share offer.

NoorTel said in April it planned to raise 53.9 million dinars ($203 million) in an IPO to set up a company compliant with Islamic law investing in the Middle East telecommunications sector.

Marri said 95.2 percent of NoorTel’s subscriptions book had been filled ahead of the close of the offer on June 29.

He said the telecoms company would invest about 80 million dinars and would team up with France Telecom FTE.PA in various projects in emerging markets. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by David Holmes)