The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BankMuscat brass hotfoot to Mumbai

Mumbai, Dec. 3: Following the current trend of global bankers visiting India, the nine-member board of BankMuscat, headed by Sheikh Abdulmalik Bin Abdullah Al Khalili, will meet in Mumbai on Thursday.

The bank, which is taking a strategic stake in Centurion Bank, will be signing a shareholder agreement with Rana Talwar's Sabre Capital Worldwide tomorrow.

Sabre Capital, along with BankMuscat and a group of investors, will be infusing Rs 129 crore into Centurion Bank, which will see them picking up a 48 per cent stake and management control in the bank. Of this, Sabre Capital would infuse Rs 4 crore and the Oman-based foreign bank BankMuscat will contribute Rs 75 crore.

The proposal will see the equity holding of the investor group led by Sabre Capital going up to over 65 per cent by 2006.

The complex deal envisages Tier I capital infusion of Rs 319 crore in two phases, Rs 219 crore in the first phase and Rs 100 crore in the second phase. Of the first phase capital, Rs 129 crore will be brought in by the investor group led by Sabre Capital.

This infusion, at a price of around Rs 4 per share, will help Centurion Bank meet mandatory capital adequacy requirements.

Further, around 4 crore shares constituting 2 per cent of the bank's capital will be issued to members of Sabre Capital at Re 1 per share.

Incorporated in the Sultanate of Oman, BankMuscat ranks as the largest banking entity in that country with a full-scale presence in corporate, retail, investment banking and asset management.

The bank was reconstituted in 1993 as a public joint stock company by a voluntary merger of two established banks Bank of Muscat and Al Bank Al Ahli Al Omani, which were operating in the Sultanate since 1982 and 1976, respectively.

Major shareholders of the bank include the Diwan of Royal Court (a department of the government) and Societe Generale who are represented on the board of the bank.

The merged bank has the largest network in Oman.

In 2001, another merger with Industrial Bank of Oman (a specialised bank in industrial and project finance) was effected. The merger is expected to facilitate rapid expansion of the industrial finance business. The increased capital base will enable the combined banking operations to continue domestic and regional asset expansion that will comply with regulatory requirements.

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