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MUSCAT:Oman's central bank has approved the planned merger of HSBC Holdings' operations in the tiny Gulf Arab state with local lender Oman International Bank, the central bank said on Sunday.

Both HSBC and OIB said in October last year they were in talks about merging their operations inOman, without providing details on the structure of the transaction.

"The board has approved, in principle, the merger between Oman International Bank and HSBC Bank Middle East's Oman branches provided the merger does not conflict with local laws," the statement from the central bank said.

Omanopened its doors to Islamic banking and let conventional lenders run sharia-compliant operations in May.

HSBC has had a presence inOmansince 1948. OIB has a market cap of around $700 million, according to Reuters data.



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Banking Review 2014

Foreign Debt $62.649bn
Per Cap Income $1,512
GDP Growth 4.24%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.988 bln
Exports $1.835 bln
Imports $3.823 bln
WeeklyOctober 08, 2015
Reserves $20.05 bln