Thailand’s troubled Islamic Bank seeks investors to turn around business

State-owned Islamic Bank of Thailand, branded as IBank, has become the target of domestic and foreign investors, including from the Middle East, according to its chairman Chaiwat Uthaiwan. In an effort to rehabilitate its business, the country’s State Enterprise Policy Office agreed to allow local or foreign private investors to acquire more than 50% of stakes in the bank. According to IBank’s chairman, several Asian financial houses including some from the Middle East were interested to take over a larger stake. But this could happen only next year because the bank has to separate its good and bad assets first before it could think about a stake sale, he added. At present, IBank tries to restructure $1.7bn of bad loans out of a total loan amount of close to $3bn. Net loss in 2014 was around $300mn.