Malaysia's DRB to buy $ 326 mln Bank Muamalat stake

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 (Reuters) Malaysian auto and financial group DRB-Hicom said it has agreed to buy a 70 percent stake in Islamic lender Bank Muamalat for 1.1 billion ringgit (6.4 million) from Bukhary Capital.

DRB plans to issue new shares at an indicative price of 1.95 ringgit per share in exchange for the stake, the firm said in a statement on Thursday.

Trading DRB shares had been suspended for the announcement, with the stock last traded at 1.93 ringgit.

DRB, controlled by Malaysian tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, has been on the acquisition trail in recent months. In July, it said it would pay 720 million ringgit (2.1 million) for a power plant operator and, a month later, it announced plans to buy a 20 percent stake in car retailer Edaran Otomobil Nasional (EON) from Jardine Strategic, and make an offer for the rest of EON shares it does not already own.

Bukhary Capital is also controlled by Syed Mokhtar.

DRB's plan to diversify into Islamic banking and exit traditional lending comes as global demand for sharia-compliant assets hits new peaks.

Kuala Lumpur-based Bank Muamalat began operations eight years ago, the second fully-fledged Islamic bank in Malaysia after Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd .

State investment agency Khazanah Nasional owns the remaining 30 percent share in Bank Muamalat.

REUTERS SR GC1901

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