Oman’s Bank Sohar has increased its lending activity in the first six months of the year by 16 per cent to reach OR1.4bn ($3.6bn) compared with the same time period last year.

The bank’s increased lending helped drive net profits in an upward direction to reach OR16.6m by the end of June this year, marking a 35 per cent increase in profit compared with 2013.

Total assets also grew by 8.9 per cent to reach OR1.9bn. Customer deposits grew by 8.11 per cent. 

The bank’s performance follows US ratings agency Fitch’s decision at the end of June to affirm the bank’s long-term issuer default rating to BBB+ with a stable outlook.

Sohar is also in talks with fellow Omani institution, Bank Dhofar, about a possible merger.

The merger could create the second-largest bank in Oman, in terms of asset value.

A preliminary share swap ratio was proposed in early June and the proposal remains under consideration. 

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