Suroor Investment acquires Atlas Bank's majority shares
KARACHI (November 24 2009): Suroor Investment Ltd, led by prominent banker Hussain Lawai, has acquired majority shares of Atlas Bank limited at a prices of Rs 4.50 per share. "Suroor Investment is keenly interested to enhance Arif Habib Bank's nation-wide operation by acquiring some small banks, besides launching new branches in major cities and rural areas," sources said, and added that after successful acquisition deal with Mybank, the sponsors of Arif Habib Bank, under their expansion plan, had purchased majority shares of the Atlas Bank.
They said that negotiations between 'Suroor Investment' and Atlas Bank were under process for last six weeks for the acquisition of majority shares of the bank. However, Atlas Bank sponsors on Monday also formally announced that they have entered into an agreement with Suroor Investments for sale of 58.31 percent of their share-holding in the bank. However, the deal is subject to necessary legal and other approvals.
Sources said that Suroor Investment would pay Rs 1.3 billion to the sponsors of Atlas Bank for the purchase of over 58 percent shares of bank. Atlas Bank had faced serious liquidity problems, like other banks, during fiscal year 2009 and was unable to meet the State Bank's Minimum Capital Requirement (MCR).
Therefore, the central bank granted one-year extension to meet MCR condition, they said "Suroor Investment has already acquired majority shares of Arif Habib Bank and Mybank under its plan to set up a new bank, which would provide banking facilities to the middle businessmen focusing on trading business," sources said.
Earlier, on October 1, 2009, Suroor Investment acquired majority shares of Mybank with investment of Rs 2.4 billion at a price of some Rs 8 per share, they added. Sources said that acquisition of Atlas Bank by Suroor Investment is a major development in the banking sector, which is presently facing several difficulties like decline in profit and high non-performing loans.
They said sponsors of Arif Habib Bank have not conducted due diligence for the acquisition of Atlas Bank, as already three have done in the past by different parties. The same situation was seen in Mybank case, as it was also facing paid-up capital problems, which compelled the bank to merge in some other bank and finally Mybank's majority shares have been acquired by Suroor Investment Ltd.
It may be mentioned here that Atlas Bank--a company of Atlas Group--with equity of Rs 3.41 billion and assets base of Rs 30.40 billion, is partnered by a leading European financial group, DEG-Deutsche Investitions of Germany. As a scheduled commercial bank, Atlas Bank is engaged in commercial banking operations through its network of 40 online, real-time branches in 17 major cities of Pakistan.