Kuwait’s Boubyan Bank weighs up $212m of­fer for BLME

The National - News - - BUSINESS - THE NA­TIONAL

Boubyan Bank is in ad­vanced talks to buy UK-based Is­lamic lender Bank of Lon­don and the Mid­dle East (BLME Hold­ings) in an all-cash deal.

The Kuwaiti lender is con­sid­er­ing an of­fer of $1.05 for each BLME Hold­ings share, which val­ues the UK bank at $212.1 mil­lion (Dh778.9m), ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by both en­ti­ties. At that price, a bid would rep­re­sent a 75 per cent pre­mium to the $0.60 that BLME shares were trad­ing at prior to the mar­ket’s close on Novem­ber 28.

Boubyan Bank and a sub­sidiary al­ready own more than 51.7 mil­lion shares, or a stake of 27.91 per cent in BLME. Although talks are on­go­ing, “there can be no cer­tainty that an of­fer will be made for BLME,” Boubyan Bank said in the state­ment.

It also said it re­serves the right to “make an of­fer for BLME on less favourable terms” but in line with mar­ket rules, it ei­ther needs to an­nounce a firm in­ten­tion to make an of­fer or with­draw from a deal by December 29.

BLME is a UK-based Is­lamic lender whose shares are listed on Nas­daq Dubai.

In the six months to June 30, the bank made a profit at­trib­ut­able to share­hold­ers of £6.8m (Dh32.3m), down 1 per cent year-on-year as rev­enue grew 17 per cent to £27.8m.

A break­down of its per­for­mance ac­com­pa­ny­ing its results show the bank earned 75 per cent of its rev­enue from the UK and 8 per cent from Switzerlan­d, but that much of the rest was gen­er­ated in the Gulf, with 6 per cent com­ing from Saudi Ara­bia.

As at June 30, the bank had to­tal as­sets of £1.4 bil­lion, which were up 9 per cent in the six-month pe­riod, driven by “in­creased fi­nanc­ing ac­tiv­i­ties sup­ported by di­ver­si­fied, con­sumer de­posit-led fund­ing”, it said.

Boubyan Bank’s net profit has in­creased by 12 per cent dur­ing the first nine months of 2019 to 45.3 mil­lion Kuwaiti di­nars (Dh546m) as op­er­at­ing in­come grew 4 per cent to 109.4m di­nars.

As at Septem­ber 30, the bank had to­tal as­sets of 5.03 bil­lion di­nars.

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