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Arqaam of Dubai to Help Indonesian Banks Find Gulf Investors

Arqaam Capital Ltd., a Dubai-based investment bank, wants to help other Indonesian lenders find investors in the Gulf Arab region after advising PT Bank Kesawan on the sale of a stake in itself to Qatar National Bank SAQ.

“There is active interest from a number” of mid-tier Indonesian banks to do deals such as the Qatar National Bank investment, Tamer Nazih Makary, Arqaam’s executive director, said in an interview in Dubai yesterday. About “four to five conventional banks, and two to three Islamic banks” may be looking to sell stakes to help raise money for growth, he said.

Doha-based Qatar National Bank, the Persian Gulf country’s biggest lender by assets, took a 70 percent holding in Indonesia’s PT Bank Kesawan after becoming the standby buyer in its rights offer in January. Indonesia has more than 100 banks and the country’s central bank has prodded them to combine and boost capital after it spent 450 trillion rupiah ($37 billion) on bailouts following the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

AlBaraka Banking Group, Bahrain’s biggest publicly traded Islamic lender, was also interested in acquiring a stake in PT Bank Kesawan, abandoning the plan amid the financial crisis, according to an official at Indonesia’s central bank. Other Gulf Arab banks that own shares in Indonesian lenders are Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development and Kuwait’s Boubyan Bank KSC, which is partially owned by PT Bank Muamalat Indonesia.

Arqaam was set up in 2007 and its businesses include an equities brokerage, equity derivatives and corporate finance. Its mandates include being the adviser to Jordan-based cement trading company CTI Group Inc.’s acquisition of PT Semen Batam, one of Indonesia’s largest cement producers.

Indonesia Buyout

Many Gulf Arab lenders have looked at buying big banks in Indonesia, where there was a difference between what the lenders were prepared to pay and the valuations, said Makary, 31. Qatar National Bank followed a different strategy by acquiring its stake through a rights offer at par, which doubled the lender’s capital, said Makary, who has worked at ABN Amro Bank NV in the U.S. and Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes Holdings SAE.

“There are a lot of people hunting in Indonesia,” Makary said. Arqaam will look for buyers not just from the Middle East because, he said, “the Japanese are looking, the Indians are looking, the Koreans are looking.”

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