National Bank of Bahrain makes offer to buy Bahrain Islamic Bank

DUBAI, Nov 5 (Reuters) - National Bank of Bahrain, which has a 29% stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank, has made an offer to buy the rest of the Islamic lender in another sign of consolidation in the Gulf banking market.

The deal is subject to National Bank of Bahrain, the country’s biggest lender, acquiring a minimum 40.94% of the Islamic lender for either cash 0.117 Bahrain dinars or a share exchange ratio of 0.167 National Bank’s shares per Bahrain Islamic Bank share, the Islamic lender said in a filing to the exchange.

The price values the Islamic lender at 124 million dinars ($329 million).

National Bank of Bahrain is the second-biggest shareholder in the Islamic lender alongside the government.

The deal comes among a wave of mergers in the Middle East’s financial sector, as profit margins are challenged by lower government and consumer spending because of weak oil prices.

After the creation of First Abu Dhabi Bank in 2017 through a merger of Abu Dhabi’s biggest lenders, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, consolidation in the industry gathered pace, with big deals seen in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

$1 = 0.3770 Bahraini dinars Reporting by Saeed Azhar, editing by Louise Heavens