Thursday 05, January 2017 by Nabilah Annuar

Ithmaar commences operation of the new group structure

Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar Bank, has obtained final approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), for its reorganisation plan.

In a bid to develop the growth achieved in Ithmaar Bank’s core retail banking business, the new structure was proposed by the Ithmaar’s Board of Directors and approved by shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in March 2016. This resulted in the conversion of the existing Commercial Registration into Ithmaar Holding, which is licenced and regulated by the CBB and continues to be listed on the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait.

Ithmaar Holding retains 100 per cent ownership of all assets owned by Ithmaar Bank, through its two wholly-owned subsidiaries—Ithmaar Bank (closed), an Islamic retail bank subsidiary which holds the core retail banking business, and IB Capital (closed), an investment subsidiary, which holds investments and other non-core assets. The two subsidiaries are licenced and regulated by the CBB.

Following final regulatory and other necessary approvals and the required procedures, the shares will be traded in the name of Ithmaar Holding with the ticker ITHMR.

Ithmaar’s CEO, Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who expressed his thanks and appreciation to the CBB and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, as well as the Bahrain Bourse and Boursa Kuwait for their continued guidance and support, said that the new group structure will further consolidate Ithmaar Bank’s position as a strong retail-focussed premier Islamic retail bank under the Ithmaar brand, allowing the Bank to take advantage of new growth opportunities, and help to generate greater value to our shareholders.

“The reorganisation is designed to assist in realising our long-term strategy for growth by providing greater insight into the strength of our core retail banking operations and further facilitating the focussed management of the Group’s investment assets,” said Abdul Rahim. “The new structure will help lower the risk profile of the new banking entity and enhance shareholder value through growth and improved performance in the core business,” he said.

”Ithmaar Bank’s mailing address, call centre number, main office telephone number and all other telephone numbers will remain unchanged. Customers can continue to use existing cheque books, debit cards, credit cards, and eCards that bear the trademark of Ithmaar Bank. The financial results consistently show that our efforts to significantly transform the Group’s operations and focus on developing our core business are paying off, and that we are on the right track,” said Abdul Rahim.

Elaborating further on the restructuring, he explained, “The decision to reorganise the group is the logical step in this process, and underlines our commitment to become one of the region’s leading Islamic retail banks. By allocating our assets into separate subsidiaries, we will be able to better focus on our core retail banking businesses held in Ithmaar Bank, which includes Faysal Bank Limited, Pakistan, a retail and corporate banking subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank. At the same time, we will be able to facilitate dedicated and focussed management of investment and other assets held by IB Capital.”

Ithmaar Bank recently announced that it was singled out among the world’s Islamic banks for a prestigious international award in recognition of its Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Disclosure. The independent award was presented at the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) which was recently held in Bahrain in strategic partnership with the CBB.

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