BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Brunei Investment Agency (BIA) has acquired Fajr Capital’s 29 percent stake in Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), the sultanate’s largest financial institution.

“This transaction marks a significant new chapter in BIBD’s ongoing transformation,” the bank’s chairman YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said in a statement.

The value of the deal was not disclosed but the acquisition makes the Brunei government the majority shareholder, via stakes owned by BIA and the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

Other shareholders include the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation and approximately 6,000 individual Bruneian investors.

Since acquiring a stake in BIBD back in 2010, Dubai-based private equity firm Fajr Capital has played a key role in increasing the bank’s market share and doubling its net income.

BIBD posted a 27 percent increase in profits in 2018 and its assets surpassed $10 billion the same year.

Fajr Capital also spearheaded a revamp of BIBD’s brand identity and redesign of the branch network, as well as introduction of internet banking and new digital platforms, and expansion into Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

“There has been a remarkable improvement in corporate governance and accounting standards [as a result of Fajr Capital’s investment],” said YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin, who is also the second minister of Finance and Economy

“The transformation has benefitted the bank’s customers, employees and shareholders, and contributed significantly to local business growth and job creation in the country.”

The minister added that BIA’s investment in BIBD will continue to build on Fajr Capital’s work and usher the bank into the next phase of growth.

BIBD was formed in 2005 through the merger of Islamic Bank of Brunei and Islamic Development Bank of Brunei. It currently dominates domestic market position, accounting for 61 percent of Brunei’s banking profit before tax.