Kuwait Bank seeks create Islamic lender with $92b in assets

Kuwait City

Kuwait Finance House KSCP wants to hold renewed talks with Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank BSC about a takeover, a potential boost to the island kingdom as it seeks financial support from richer neighbours. Shares in Ahli United Bank, or AUB, rose 6.8 per cent on Tuesday to the highest levels since April last year, valuing the Manama, Bahrain-based lender at $5.66 billion. KFH declined as much as 1.3 per cent for a market value of about KWD 3.88 billion ($12.8 billion). KFH said Monday that it contacted AUB about “establishing a new banking entity.” Bloomberg News in May last year reported that the banks began talks, aiming to create an entity with about $92 billion of assets, but those talks foundered about six months ago over valuation differences. The proposal comes as debt-laden Bahrain, one of the most vulnerable Gulf Arab economies to lower crude prices, waits for financial support from its neighbours to help reduce ballooning debt and shore up foreign-exchange reserves.—Agencies

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