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Malaysia's MBSB agrees to buy Asian Finance Bank for 645m ringgit

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) said it plans to acquire Asian Finance Bank (AFB) from its foreign shareholders for 645 million ringgit (S$207.8 million) in a deal that would give the non-bank lender a banking license.

Malaysia Building Society said it had agreed with AFB's shareholders - Qatar Islamic Bank, Financial Assets Bahrain, RUSD Investment Bank and Tadhamon International Islamic Bank to pay 396.9 million ringgit in cash and the issuance of 225.5 million new shares at 1.10 ringgit per share.

The deal values AFB at 1.3 times book value, MBSB said.

"The merged entity is expected to leverage on the strength of MBSB's business and the banking license held by AFB is anticipated to provide a unique opportunity for the merged entity to emerge as a full-fledged Islamic banking franchise in Malaysia," it said.

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MBSB has sought to become a full-fledged bank in the last few years.

In 2014, MBSB was part of a $20 billion three-way merger deal with CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd , which fell through in early 2015. Talks with Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd in the last quarter of 2015 also collapsed.