Sohar International Bank has expressed its intention to initiate merger discussions with Bank Nizwa. The bank on Tuesday sent a letter of intent to the board of directors of Bank Nizwa for a merger between the two entities.

“The board of directors of Sohar International Bank would like to announce that on Tuesday it has sent a letter of intent to the board of Bank Nizwa proposing a merger of the two banks,” Ahmed al Musalmi, chief executive officer of Sohar International Bank said in a disclosure to the Muscat Stock Exchange.

Musalmi said the Sohar International Bank’s board will keep the market updated with any progress on this matter, which will be subject to necessary boards, shareholders and regulatory approvals and the applicable laws of the sultanate.

Mergers between the banks are quite rare in Oman. Last year Alizz Islamic Bank was merged with Oman Arab Bank’s Islamic banking window, and before this erstwhile Oman International Bank was merged with HSBC Oman in 2012.

Bank Nizwa is the leading and fastest-growing Islamic bank in Oman. The bank’s total assets grew by 22 per cent to RO1.385bn as of September 30, 2021 from RO1.139bn a year ago.

Bank Nizwa’s gross financing portfolio grew by 19 per cent year-on-year to reach at RO1.130bn in September 2021, while its total customer deposits reached RO1.074bn recording a growth of 18 per cent compared to the same period of last year.

On the other hand, Sohar International Bank’s total assets increased by 9.3 per cent to RO4.023bn as of September 2021 compared to RO3.681bn a year ago.

The bank’s net loans and advances increased by 3.4 per cent to RO2.550bn in September 2021 against RO2.467bn a year ago.

Sohar International Bank’s customer deposits, however, decreased by 5.1 per cent to RO2.229bn in September this year compared to the same period a year ago.

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