A major shake-up took place at National Bank of Oman (NBO)in mid-July, as existing players sold stakes worth RO 80 million ($205.1 million) to Commercial Bank of Qatar (CBQ)and four board members were replaced. The moves follow the agreement of shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in late June for CBQ to take a 34.9 per cent stake in NBO and management control for three years (MEED 1:5:05).
In total, 17.9 million shares were sold, adding to the 10 million shares gained by CBQ through a rights issue in June. The Sheikh Suhail Bahwan Groupreduced its stake to 14 per cent from 34.6 per cent, Mohammed al-Barwani Holdingdivested completely its 6 per cent share and Abna Sultan Tradingsold 2 per cent of its holding, leaving it with 3.2 per cent. The four newly appointed Qatari directors are Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali al-Thani, Omar Hussain al-Fardan, Andrew Stevens and Hugh Thompson, replacing Saad Suhail Bahwan, Amal Suhail Bahwan, Suresh Shivdasani and Mohammed al-Barwani. Officials say that under the terms of the agreement, CBQ personnel will exercise strong control over the credit committee. A Qatari manager is due to be appointed in September. However, Sheikh Suhail Bahwan will remain as chairman. 'This arrangement was a special request from CBQ,' says an NBO spokesman. 'It was important to emphasise that CBQ is buying a stake in NBO, not buying one of the sultanate's national banks.'