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Bank Dhofar CEO quits amidst merger talks

bankdhofarBank Dhofar, the Omani lender planning to merge with smaller peer Bank Sohar, said on Sunday that its chief executive Anthony Mahoney had resigned for personal reasons.

Bank Dhofar has appointed Abdul Omar Al-Ojaili as its acting chief executive, the lender said in a bourse statement. Mahoney’s resignation was effective Sept. 26, it said.

In July, Bank Dhofar said it had approached Bank Sohar with a view to merging the two entities and creating Oman’s second-largest bank. The new entity would have total assets worth 4.1 billion rials ($10.7 billion), according to quarterly financial statements, and a market capitalisation of around $1.8 billion.

While banking consolidation in a number of Gulf countries has long been called for, little has happened as major shareholders, often powerful local families, are reluctant to cede control unless they are offered high valuations.

Oman has seen one bank merger in recent times: HSBC Holdings merged its Omani assets with Oman International Bank in June 2012 to create HSBC Bank Oman , currently the sultanate’s third-largest lender by market value.-Reuters