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Pak bank buys stake in Burj Bank

Pakistan’s MCB Bank will take a 55% stake in Islamic lender Burj Bank, alongside an additional investment by the private sector arm of Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank. The move comes amid increased activity in Pakistan’s Islamic banking sector, with regulators stepping up development efforts and lenders expanding operations in the world’s second-most populous Muslim nation. MCB Bank said it had agreed with majority shareholders of Burj Bank to invest in new and existing shares for a controlling stake in the Islamic lender, which held assets worth Rs 44.7 billion ($424.7 million) as of December. The deal, which still requires regulatory approval, would include an un-specified additional investment by the IDB’s Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, which already holds a 33% stake in un-listed Burj. Other majority shareholders include Bahrain’s Bank Alkhair, which held a 36.9% stake. Burj Bank is the smallest of five full-fledged Islamic banks in Pakistan with a network of 75 branches, while MCB operates the country’s sixth largest Islamic window with 28 branches.

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