May 30, 2013 / 12:52 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Kuwait's KIPCO takes majority stake in Malta's Fimbank

(Recasts to add Bahrain unit’s stake buy)

KUWAIT, May 30 (Reuters) - Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO) , the Gulf state’s largest investment firm by assets, acquired a controlling stake in small Maltese trade finance specialist Fimbank through two of its banking subsidiaries.

United Gulf Bank, KIPCO’s Bahrain-based merchant banking unit and Burgan Bank, the Kuwaiti firm’s commercial banking arm, got regulatory approvals to buy a combined 68.7 percent stake in Fimbank, they said in separate press statements on Thursday.

United said it has received the green light from regulators to acquire up to 43.7 percent of Fimbank, while Burgan said it was buying a 25 percent stake.

Fimbank specialises in international trade finance and is listed on the Maltese stock exchange with a total market value of about $146 million, according to Reuters data.

“(Our) expected investment (in Fimbank) may reach up to $125 million over a period of time,” United Gulf Bank said in the statement.

Burgan, the commercial banking arm of Kuwait Projects Co (KIPCO), said in October it was planning to buy the stake in Fimbank for an undisclosed price. The Kuwaiti bank bought the Turkish arm of EFG Eurobank last year.

KIPCO had assets worth $25.6 billion as at December 31, 2012. (Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing Mirna Sleiman and Dinesh Nair)

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