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BankMuscat, Oman’s largest bank, has obtained a licence to open a new bank in Bahrain with an initial paid-up capital of Bd20mn.

The prime minister and chairman of Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA), Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, has approved the granting of licence to the institution to establish a locally incorporated, full commercial bank (FCB) in Bahrain.

The new bank, which will be called BankMuscat International (BMI), will have an initial paid-up capital of Bd20mn (US$53mn) which will be raised to Bd50mn (US$132.5mn) in 2007 through a public-share offering. The major shareholder of BMI is Oman-headquartered BankMuscat with a 49% stake.

Shareholders also include Istithmar, an investment house based in Dubai, and Global Investment House, an investment banking and asset-management firm based in Kuwait, each with a 10% stake, besides other strategic investors from the region. Once BMI becomes operational, BankMuscat’s FCB branch in Bahrain will cease operations.