The merger talks between the International Bank of Qatar (IBQ) and the local Al-Khaliji bank are progressing to plan and are in the final stage of negotiations, according to George Nasra, managing director at IBQ.

“The merger negotiations are going very well and we are in the final stage of due diligence,” said Nasra, speaking on the sidelines at MEED’s Qatar Projects 2011 conference on 8 February.

“But, it is a complex operation and will [need] more time as it requires the final approval of the Qatar Central Bank and the regulatory authorities,” he added.

Merger negotiations between the two banks began in May last year.

IBQ reported a net profit of QR458m ($126m) for the year ending 31 December 2010, an increase of 34 per cent on the previous year. The bank’s annual operating profit grew by 27 per cent to QR853m in this time.