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NBAD Soars on Malaysia Islamic License Plan: Abu Dhabi Mover

National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC climbed the most in almost a year after the largest lender in the United Arab Emirates by market value said it plans to seek an Islamic banking license in Malaysia.

The shares jumped 4.4 percent, the most since Oct. 30, to 8.83 dirhams at the close in the emirate. The benchmark ADX General Index advanced 1 percent.

The Abu Dhabi-based lender wants to expand after starting non-Islamic commercial banking operations in Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy in July, Leong See Meng, chief executive officer of National Bank of Abu Dhabi Malaysia Bhd, said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur Sept. 7. Malaysia’s Islamic banking assets rose 21 percent to 359 billion ringgit ($115 billion) in July from a year ago, driven by government incentives for Shariah-compliant products, according to central bank data.

“Investors liked the news that NBAD is venturing into Islamic banking in Malaysia,” said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi was among five foreign institutions, including Indonesia’s PT Bank Mandiri, which received central bank approval in 2010 to begin non-Shariah banking operations. “There are opportunities across the board,” Leong said.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi already offers products that comply with the religion’s ban on interest in the United Arab Emirates, including savings accounts, treasury instruments and trade financing.

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