Kuwait’s Noor Financial receives offer to divest part of Meezan Bank

Meezan is Pakistan’s biggest Islamic bank with a retail banking network of more than 600 branches in more than 150 cities of the country

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LAHORE: Noor Financial Investment Company (Noor) has sought State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) permission for divestment of 9.59 percent of its 49.1 percent stake in Meezan Bank Limited.

Kuwait’s Noor Financial Investment said on Wednesday a foreign financial firm has shown interest in buying part of its stake in Pakistan’s leading Islamic lender Meezan Bank.

Noor Financial said in a statement the foreign financial firm, which it did not identify, wants to purchase 9.59 percent of Meezan Bank’s capital.

Noor Financial owns 49.1 percent of Meezan Bank, according to the bank’s last annual report. The stake is worth about $330 million based on Meezan’s market capitalisation.

Last year, Noor had said it was continuously looking for strategic alternatives for its investment in Meezan.

In a notification sent to the bourse on Wednesday by Meezan Bank Limited said “Noor Financial Investment Company (currently owning 522,033,439 ordinary shares in Meezan (representing approximately 49,11% of the issued and paid up capital of Meezan)) (“Noor Shares”) is in preliminary non-binding discussions with foreign institutional investors for a proposed divestment of 101,900,000 ordinary shares in Meezan, constituting a total of 9.59% of the total issued and paid up capital of Meezan (“Sale Shares”) on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed between the Parties (“Proposed Transaction”). In this regard, Noor has requested Meezan to approach the State Bank of Pakistan for the unblocking of the Sale Shares to enable Noor to consummate the proposed transaction.”

Noor Financial Investment Company – KPSC engages in the investment and financial activities in Kuwait, the Middle East, Asia, and internationally. It operates through four segments: Investments, Real Estate, IT Services, and Hotel Operations.

Meezan is Pakistan’s biggest Islamic bank with a retail banking network of more than 600 branches in more than 150 cities of the country.

Meezan Bank shares closed trading at Rs73.97, up Rs1.27 (+1.75 percent) and KSE-100 index closed the session at 42,301.20 points, down 158.33 points on Wednesday.