Oman's Bank Sohar scraps convertible bond, plans 40 mln rial rights issue

2014-10-14

Oct 14 (Reuters) - Bank Sohar, the Omani lender currently merging with larger rival Bank Dhofar , has scrapped plans for a convertible bond issue and will instead undertake a 40 million rial ($103.9 million) rights issue, it said on Tuesday.

The bank, the sultanate's fifth-largest by assets, had said in May it would issue a mandatory convertible bond worth 70 million rials to help boost its Tier 1 - or core - capital.

However, in a bourse filing on Tuesday, it said its board had decided against issuing the convertible "due to uncertainty regarding its eligibility as an additional Tier 1 instrument".

Instead, Bank Sohar will complete a rights issue, subject to regulatory approval, for a smaller amount as "this is the capital requirement to support the future growth of the bank", with a further 30 million rial issue possible in the future if the lender required the extra capital.

Bank Sohar's Tier 1 ratio was 10.39 percent at the end of the second quarter, with its total capital adequacy ratio - combined Tier 1 and Tier 2 (or supplementary) capital - at 13.90 percent, according to figures on its website.

By comparison, the median Tier 1 capital ratio in the Omani banking system was 11.97 percent at the end of 2013, according to Thomson Reuters data. (1 US dollar = 0.3850 Omani rial)