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Thu 22 Dec 2011 04:45 PM

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UK Islamic bank in talks with Rasmala for 30% stake

Acquisition to be completed in early 2012 will be made through a fresh issue of shares, sources say

UK Islamic bank in talks with Rasmala for 30% stake
Existing shareholders in Rasmala will be diluted by the capital increase
UK Islamic bank in talks with Rasmala for 30% stake
Dubai stock market

European Islamic Investment Bank is in talks to acquire a 30 percent stake in Dubai-based Rasmala Investment Bank, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

The acquisition, which is set to be completed in early 2012, will be made through a fresh issue of shares by Rasmala which EIIB will buy, the sources said.

"EIIB is working out a certain formula with Rasmala for the capital increase," a source, who declined to be identified because the talks are private, said.

"They've agreed on the main terms but fine tuning some details."

Rasmala's chief executive officer, Anwar Abu Sbaitan, declined to comment. EIIB was not immediately available for comment.

Existing shareholders in Rasmala, which includes Deutsche Bank, will be diluted by the capital increase, a separate source said.

Rasmala, which has around $900m in assets, has offices in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Egypt and operates in asset management, corporate finance and institutional brokerage.

Rasmala's chairman, Ali al Shihabi, said in November that it was in talks with one party about investing in the bank as part of a capital boost.

Earlier this year, a slump in market turnover forced Rasmala to close its UAE retail brokerage business and to focus on institutional brokerage and research, asset management and corporate finance.

Turnover and trading volumes on the Dubai and Abu Dhabi exchanges have fallen, extending a trend that started as the global financial crisis struck in 2008.

The Dubai Financial Market slumped to a seven-year low on Wednesday, while the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange hit its lowest level since March 2009.

Shares in EIIB, which undertakes sharia-compliant investment banking services in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, were trading flat at 1225GMT at 3.5 pounds ($5.48).

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