Banking & Finance Central bank approves HSBC Oman and Sohar International merger By Pramod Kumar February 6, 2023 Creative Commons The merger is likely to be completed in the second half of 2023 HSBC Bank Oman and Sohar International have received the Central Bank of Oman’s (CBO) approval for their merger proposal, the banks said in separate statements to the Muscat Stock Exchange. The merger is likely to be completed in the second half of 2023 following approvals from regulators and shareholders of the two banks. In previous disclosures, the two banks announced that all assets and liabilities of HSBC Oman will be transferred to Bank Sohar International. HSBC Oman will be dissolved as a legal entity upon completion of the merger and its shares will be canceled. In November 2022, HSBC Oman said that shareholders would be offered consideration valuing the bank at one time of the book value. Shareholders will be given the option to receive cash, provided it does not exceed 70 percent of the total consideration payable by Sohar International. The GCC banking sector has witnessed a consolidation trend since lower government spending squeezed profit margins, and banks are trying to become competitive globally. In 2021, Saudi Arabia’s biggest lender National Commercial Bank (NCB), merged with Samba Financial Group to create Saudi National Bank with over $240 billion in assets.