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|23 April, 2018

Bahrain's Ahli United Bank buys 7.3% stake in Saudi Bank AlJazira

The move comes as regional and international banks accelerate moves to boost their presence in Saudi Arabia

Traders look at the screens at Bahrain Bourse in Manama, Bahrain, February 7, 2018.

Traders look at the screens at Bahrain Bourse in Manama, Bahrain, February 7, 2018.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

DUBAI  - Bahrain's Ahli United Bank said on Monday it has bought a 7.3 percent stake in Saudi Arabia's Islamic lender, Bank AlJazira, for $173 million.

The investment is not expected to have any material impact on Ahli United Bank's financial position, Bahrain's largest bank by assets said in a statement.

The move comes as regional and international banks accelerate moves to boost their presence in Saudi Arabia, encouraged by the economic reforms that aim to boost the kingdom's financial markets.

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Other Bahraini financial institutions are also banking on close proximity to Saudi Arabia to help revive Bahrain's reputation as a major Middle East business centre.

GFH Financial recently announced plans to develop its business in Saudi Arabia.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Tom Arnold) ((Saeed.Azhar@thomsonreuters.com; +971 44536787; Reuters Messaging: saeed.azhar.reuters.com@reuters.net))