Bahrain Monetary Agency approves merger of operations of two top Iranian banks
The Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA) has approved the merger of the Bahrain operations of two top Iranian banks and issued a licence for a new bank being created by the two Iranian banks, along with a leading Bahrain bank.
Future Bank, incorporated in Bahrain, is being set by Bank Melli Iran (BMI), Bank Saderat Iran (BSI) and Ahli United Bank (AUB). The new venture will be equally owned and equally controlled by the three institutions.
The new licence was recently approved by Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Chairman of the BMA Board.
Future Bank will have an authorized capital of US$200 million and an initial paid up capital of US$99 million.
Following its establishment, the Bahrain operations of BMI and BSI will be merged and assume the name, Future Bank. The two banks currently operate three full commercial bank (FCB) branches in Bahrain. In addition, BSI also operates an offshore banking unit (OBU) in Bahrain, which will also assume the new name.
AUB, a Bahrain-based commercial bank, has a network of 15 branches in Bahrain, in addition to an OBU. AUB also has a subsidiary in London, UK. All of the bank’s operations will continue to operate under the AUB name.
“BMA has licensed Future Bank to provide all commercial and investment banking activities,” said Mr. Ahmed Al Bassam, Director, Licensing & Policy, at the BMA.
The new bank will also focus on the development of bilateral trade and investment relations between Bahrain and Iran, as well as other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
BMI and BSI also intend to transfer all of their existing operations in some other countries in the region to Future Bank, which will acquire existing branches of BMI and BSI. The new bank will also further expand operations in the GCC region.
Future Bank will also seek to establish onshore operations in Iran, independently of the existing operations of its two Iranian shareholding banks. BMI and BSI will assist Future Bank to secure an onshore banking licence in mainland Iran as soon as possible, in accordance with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the bank’s three shareholders.
“We welcome the establishment of Future Bank, which is the first such joint venture between financial institutions in the region,” said Mr. Al Bassam.
Bahrain would serve as the hub for the bank’s operations in the region, he pointed out.
Mr. Gholam Souri, BSI General Manager in Bahrain, said he was delighted by the approval from the BMA for the establishment of Future Bank.
He said Bahrain had been selected as the headquarters for the bank because the Kingdom is the premier international financial center in the Middle East. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)