Al-Rayyan share rush ends

10 February 2006

The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in the greenfield Islamic bank Al-Rayyan closed on 29 January. Allocations remain to be finalised but the scramble to obtain shares by both local and Gulf investors indicates that the offering was many times oversubscribed.

The $2,063 million IPO was the largest in the state's history and the first to be opened to regional investors, who thronged Doha, causing traffic congestion, filling hotels and creating long queues and some scuffles at banks. Investors are guaranteed a minimum of 50 shares with the remainder allocated pro-rata. The maximum allocation is 50,000 shares. Qatar National Bank arranged the offering.

For sale to the public was 55 per cent of Al-Rayyan's capital, divided into 412.5 million shares. Twenty per cent of shares were reserved for nationals. Half the bank's QR 7,500 million ($2,005 million) capital is paid-up initially, with shares priced at QR 5 ($1.33) - half of their nominal value - plus a QR 0.35 ($0.09) subscription fee. The founding shareholders of Al-Rayyan are Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company and the Qatar General Pension & Retirement Authority (MEED 13:1:06).

Shares in a second new bank, to be called Gulf Commercial Bank and structured conventionally, are due to be offered to the public by the end of the second quarter. The Doha Securities Market (DSM) authorities in late January threatened legal action against a local paper which reported that the IPO would be staged in March. The report was blamed for a sudden dip in the price of shares on the DSM.

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