KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd is eyeing opportunities for expansion in Indonesia and Bangladesh, which have sizeable Muslim populations and adequate Islamic banking regulatory policy and supporting infrastructure for syariah-based financing and banking operations.
Managing director Datuk Seri Zukri Samat said as mergers and acquisitions (M&As) were on Bank Islam’s agenda for growth, the bank was on the lookout for suitable candidates but had not initiated any discussions.
While the two countries had been identified as “very interesting” that fit into the bank’s expansion plan, Zukri, however, said that such plans would have to take into consideration the global economic situation and its effect on this region.
“Some economists believe that there could be a double dip with Europe going into recession and growth in Asia decelerating. We are monitoring the situation and because of that, we are adopting a cautious approach towards our agenda.
“Nonetheless, there are always opportunities in a crisis – acquisition may occur when a shareholder wants to exit – and as long as there are synergies and the pricing is right, the opportunity arises,” he told Bernama in an interview.
Zukri said both countries had sound economies which offered opportunities for Islamic banking, and the presence of many Indonesian and Bangladeshi workers in Malaysia also allowed the bank to tap the lucrative remittance business. — Bernama