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Mon 28 Mar 2016 06:53 PM

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Bahrain's Ithmaar Bank sets up new structure to drive growth

Shareholders approve new group structure; holding company to list in Bahrain and Kuwait

Bahrain's Ithmaar Bank sets up new structure to drive growth

Shareholders of Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic bank, on Monday approved plans for a new group structure designed to develop growth in its core retail banking business.

The plans, which are subject to regulatory approvals, involve the creation of a new holding company that will be listed on stock markets in Bahrain and Kuwait, a statement said.

The new holding company will retain 100 percent ownership of all assets presently owned by Ithmaar Bank and will be allocated into two wholly owned subsidiaries - an Islamic retail bank unit and an investment unit.

The announcement was made by Ithmaar Bank chairman Prince Amr Al Faisal.

"This new structure is designed to assist in realising our long-term strategy for growth by providing greater insight into the strength of our core retail banking operations and further facilitating the management of the group's investment assets," he said.

"The new structure will help lower the risk profile of the new banking entity and enhance shareholder value by showing the growth and improved performance achieved in the core business. In the current structure, this growth is being adversely impacted by investment valuations and impairment provisions," he added.

During 2016, Ithmaar Bank said it is continuing to expand its retail banking network, and will shortly inaugurate a new branch in Galali - its 18th branch in the kingdom. Ithmaar Bank is also in the process of adding two new ATMs, bringing the total number to 48.

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