Meezan Bank has entered into an agreement with HSBC Bank Middle East (HBME), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings, to acquire HSBC’s banking business in Pakistan.The acquisition will take place through a process of amalgamation and is expected to materialize during the second half of 2014, subject to regulatory and other relevant approvals including the approval of direct shareholders of Meezan Bank and HMBE.Meezan Bank will subsequently convert the operations of HSBC Pakistan into Shariah-compliant banking and ensure that customers continue to enjoy uninterrupted banking services. The Bank Shariah Supervisory Board has also considered this transaction in detail and given its unequivocal approval of the same. This is the second time that Meezan Bank is acquiring the Pakistan operations of a foreign bank. The first was when Meezan Bank took over the Pakistan operations of Society Generale (SG)- the French bank, in 2002 and successfully converted Society Generale’s entire banking portfolio to Shariah-compliant lines, making it Pakistan’s first ever successful conversion of a conventional bank’s business to a Shariah compliant business through a transaction very similar to the HSBC acquisition. That was at a time when Meezan Bank was itself only recently established as Pakistan’s first Islamic commercial bank. Meezan Bank has one of the world’s largest set-ups of Islamic finance research and development and also provides Shariah advisory and technical services to businesses and institutions across the world that want to convert their business to Shariah-compliant lines, or to start a Shariah-compliant business locally or internationally. HSBC Pakistan’s business currently comprises of 10 branches, with total assets of Rs. 48 billion as at 31st December 2013. The HSBC acquisition will increase the size of Meezan Bank’s network to 361 branches and enhance the Bank’s outreach to an even larger customer base. Meezan Bank is the 8th largest bank in Pakistan in terms of branch network and 10th largest in terms of deposits. The Bank had total assets of Rs. 330 billion as at 31st December 2013. The Bank provides a comprehensive range of Islamic banking products and services through a retail banking network of 351 branches in 103 cities, supported by a countrywide network of over 300 ATMs, Visa debit cards, a 24/7 Call Center and Internet banking facility. Meezan Bank has been consistently recognized as the best Islamic bank in Pakistan by numerous local and international institutions including CFA Society – Pakistan, Asiamoney magazine – Hong Kong, Islamic Finance News – Malaysia, Global Finance magazine, New York and Asset AAA – Hong Kong.The Bank has also received “Best Research and Development in Islamic Finance 2013″ award by Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA), London.