Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam Bhd is exploring an initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in what would be the first listing from a company based in the oil-rich Southeast Asian sultanate.
The nation’s biggest lender has discussed the possibility of a share sale with financial advisers, according to the people. Bank Islam is considering Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or London as potential listing venues, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The deliberations are at an early stage, and the company may decide against pursuing an offering, the people said.
An IPO from Bank Islam would be the first from a company based in the country, which doesn’t have its own stock exchange, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. First-time share sales by Southeast Asian lenders have raised $1.1bn since 2010, with most of the offerings coming from Indonesia and Vietnam, the data show.
Shareholders of Bank Islam include the Brunei finance ministry, the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation, private equity firm Fajr Capital Ltd and about 6,000 Bruneian investors, according to its website.
Bank Islam, based in the capital of Bandar Seri Begawan, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
The lender, formed through a 2005 merger of Islamic Bank of Brunei with Islamic Development Bank of Brunei, had 7.5bn Brunei dollars ($5.3bn) of total group assets at the end of 2015. Its Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio was 23.3% at that time, according to its website. Bank Islam has 15 branches across Brunei and employs more than 700 people.
Brunei, which covers an area about the size of Delaware, gained independence from the British in 1984 and has been ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah since 1967. The nation, nestled between the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo, has a population of about 420,000, according to the World Bank.
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