Bahrain's BBK exploring acquisition of Ithmaar Bank

DUBAI, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Bahrain's Ithmaar Holding ITHMR.BH said on Wednesday it is in talks with Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK) BBKB.BH about the potential sale of subsidiary Ithmaar Bank.

In additon to the retail Islamic lender, the transaction would include specific assets of subsidiary IB Capital, an Islamic investment firm, it said in a statement.

The deal is still "in the preliminary discussions phase and subject to the completion of due diligence by both parties" and would require shareholder and regulatory approval, it said.

Low oil prices and weak economic growth are driving bank consolidation in the region.

Ithmaar this month reported a first-half net loss and said it was exploring a sale or restructuring of assets.

"This transaction is in line with Ithmaar Holding’s strategy of creating value for its shareholders, and we look forward to exploring this possible opportunity further,” Ithmaar Holding Chairman Prince Amr Al Faisal was quoted as saying.

(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; editing by Jason Neely)

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