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Bank Muscat to invest $390m in GCC-listed banks

A woman at a souq in Oman. The country's Central Bank has approved Bank Muscat's plans to invest in GCC-listed institutions Reuters
A woman at a souq in Oman. The fund will support SMEs and startups

Bank Muscat is to invest up to 150 million riyals ($389.97 million) in various GCC-listed banks as part of its growth strategy.

The sharia-compliant lender said in a statement on the Muscat Stock Exchange on Monday that it was given an in-principle approval from the Central Bank of Oman to set up a wholly owned strategic investment portfolio.

The investment will be made over the next few years, and aims to benefit from the general growth trajectory of the GCC banking sector.

The region’s banks reported a 30 percent year-on-year surge in net profits in the first half of 2023, and a 12.2 percent increase in net assets, according to consultancy firm EY.

“The GCC banking sector has undergone a fundamental transformation and is now pursuing a strong upward trajectory, boosted by an increasing demand for lending,” Charlie Alexander, EY Mena financial services leader, said in August.

“Another positive trend is the pursuit of net-zero roadmaps by most GCC countries, which has led to a rise in the demand for sustainable finance, a key enabler of the transition to clean energy.”

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