Gulf Merchant Group (GMG), a leading investment banking and asset management firm, has received initial approval for a full banking licence from the Central Bank of Oman to operate a new retail and commercial bank. Initially capitalized at a minimum of RO 50 million, the Oman Merchant Bank (OMB) will look to launch by the end of 2007, following an initial public offering (IPO) on the Muscat Securities Market.
Key factors driving GMG’s decision to launch the bank are the strong economic performance of the Omani economy; deregulation of key sectors in the economy by the government; upcoming privatisations; much-needed broadening of private sector ownership and the in-flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI); strong population growth, and expected changes in private wealth management.
Al Sayyid Asaad Bin Tariq Al Said, Chairman of OMB said: “We are seeing a gradual opening of the Omani economy that is creating an investment friendly environment to attract much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the Sultanate. The Government of Oman is also committed to major infrastructure developments that will accommodate the needs of a young and growing population in line with the vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. OMB’s focus on corporate and investment finance means that the bank will be well poised to capitalise on the opportunities created by these important developments.”
Nabil Maaloul, CEO of GMG said: “We are delighted to be given this opportunity to participate in the growth of the Omani economy by providing vital corporate and investment banking services. Furthermore, Omani nationals will be able to work and invest in the bank and its future. We are also considering a secondary listing on a reputable international exchange such as London or Dubai’s DIFX to allow regional investors to participate in a bank we believe will become an important player in the Omani economy.”