First Gulf Bank, the second-largest lender by market value in the United Arab Emirates, said on Saturday it had acquired full ownership of an Islamic finance company as it expands its sharia-complaint operations globally.
FGB raised its ownership from 40 percent to 100 per cent in Aseel Islamic Finance through a purchase agreement, it said in a statement without providing the acquisition cost.
Stakes of 20 per cent each had been held by Aldar Properties, Sorouh Real Estate and Reem Investments.
"This agreement is part of the bank's larger dual expansion strategy which is focused on enhancing its global presence," the statement said.
Aseel plans to diversify its offering from mainly mortgage products and home financing to a broader mix including small and medium enterprises, the statement added.
Set up in 2006, Aseel is capitalized at AED800m ($218 million). It has total assets of AED1.5bn.
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