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.’