KUALA LUMPUR Dec 21 Malaysia Building Society
Bhd (MBSB) will begin merger talks with Asian Finance
Bank Bhd (AFB) in its third attempt in about two years to
convert into a full-fledged Islamic lender.
The non-banking lender said in a bourse filing on Wednesday
that it had received a letter from Bank Negara Malaysia in which
the central bank said it had "no objection in principle for MBSB
to commence negotiations with the existing shareholders of AFB".
The central bank requires that the negotiations be completed
within six months, MBSB said.
AFB is co-owned by Qatar Islamic Bank, RUSB
Investment Bank Inc, Tadhamon International Islamic Bank and
Financial Assets Bahrain WLL.
MBSB had previously entered into talks with Bank Muamalat
Bhd for a merger that would have created the largest
standalone Islamic bank in Malaysia, but the talks fell through
in February this year.
In January 2015, talks of a three-way tie-up between MBSB,
CIMB and RHB to create Malaysia's biggest
bank by assets collapsed.
(Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Himani Sarkar)