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Mon 21 Jan 2008 07:18 AM

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Bank Muscat shrugs off chaos to invest in Pakistan

Omani bank's chief executive describes rising violence as 'a passing phase'.

Oman's Bank Muscat shrugged off rising violence in Pakistan, where it plans to invest in a $200 million takeover of Saudi Pak Bank, saying bomb attacks and other killings are "a passing phase".

A group including Oman's largest lender, Japan's Nomura Holdings and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) agreed last week to buy 85% of Saudi Pak Bank at 29.03 rupees ($0.467) per share, Bank Muscat chief executive AbdulRazak Ali Issa told reporters on Sunday.

"We are not worried about our investment in Pakistan," Issa said in Muscat. "We think it's just a passing phase."

At least 40 people have been killed in bomb attacks in Pakistan in the last 10 days, a spiralling of violence after opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack last month.

The agreement still needs regulatory approval, Issa said. (Reuters)

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