Saudi prince to take over Rupali bank

5 March 2007

The takeover of Bangladesh's state-run Rupali bank, which had been delayed by political upheaval, is expected to be completed this month in a $458 million deal.

Rupali, which is Bangladesh's fourth-largest bank, is set to be taken over by Prince Bandar Bin Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman who will hold a 93 per cent stake in what will become the country's largest private bank.

The sale of the bank, which was first announced in August, had been delayed after President Iajuddin Ahmed was forced to declare a state of emergency in January in the wake of troubled national elections.

The prince will now inherit a bank with bad debts of $128 million after its central government stewardship saw it repeatedly default on loans.

Commenting on the developments, Moinul Haq general manager of Rupali told AFP that he expected the sale to herald a period of expansion for the bank as new money is invested: "The new owners will invest around 40 billion taka ($600 million) in the first three years. In the first year alone they will invest 10 billion taka in infrastructure and an online banking system,"

The remaining shares in Rupali, which has 493 retail banking outlets with close to 6,000 staff, will stay in the hands of private shareholders

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