Bank Islam Brunei said to choose M’sia for IPO

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam Bhd has picked Malaysia as the destination for a planned initial public offering (IPO) that could raise as much as US$500 million (RM2.15 billion), according to people familiar with the matter.

The nation’s biggest lender has asked banks to pitch for roles on the first-time share sale and is expected to choose advisors as soon as next month, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private.

Bank Islam, which also considered Singapore and London for the offering, could list on Bursa Malaysia this year, the people said.

The IPO would be the first from a company based in Brunei, an oil-rich country about the size of Delaware that doesn’t have its own stock exchange, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

First-time share sales in Malaysia raised US$833 million so far this year, up from US$235 million during the same period last year, 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.

A media relations representative for Bank Islam didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment during a public holiday in the sultanate.

The lender, formed through a 2005 merger of Islamic Bank of Brunei with Islamic Development Bank of Brunei, had 7.5 billion Brunei dollars (RM23.21 billion) of total group assets at the end of 2015. Its Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio was 23.3% at that time, its website shows.

Bank Islam, based in the capital of Bandar Seri Begawan, has 15 branches across Brunei and employs more than 700 people.

Brunei 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 2015 data from the World Bank. — Bloomberg