Qatar National Bank seeking majority stake in Indonesian lender

14 October 2010

Acquisition is part of bank’s international growth plans

Qatar National Bank (QNB) is looking to acquire an 82.4 per cent stake in Indonesia’s Bank Kesawan as part of its strategy to expand internationally.    

“QNB has signed a letter of intent through which it can underwrite unsubscribed shares to be issued by Bank Kesawan that could potentially give us a controlling and majority stake in the bank,” says a QNB source.

Bank Kesawan plans to raise $81.7m in a rights issue to strengthen its capital structure, with QNB acting as stand-by buyer. 

It will issue 2.9 billion of new shares at a price of IDR250 ($0.028) a share. If existing shareholders decline to exercise their rights, QNB will acquire an 82.4 per cent stake in the Indonesian lender.

The rights issue is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011, according to a statement published by QNB in September.      

Bank Kesawan has a market capitalisation of $55m and operates 33 branches throughout Indonesia.

Over the last few years, QNB has acquired a 50 per cent stake in Tunisian Qatari bank, a 34.3 per cent stake in Jordan’s Housing Bank for Trade and Finance (HBTF), and a 23.8 per cent stake in the UAE’s Commercial Bank International (CBI).    

In May, it secured approval from the Syrian central bank to raise its stake in QNB-Syria, its Damascus-based subsidiary, to 55 per cent from 49 per cent, with plans to increase its capital to $300m.

The bank is also looking to grow organically through adding to its branch network. It plans to operate 15 in Syria and by the end of 2010, four branches in Oman and five in Sudan by the end of 2011, up from its current three in Syria, one in Oman and one in Sudan. In addition, it is looking to open a branch in Lebanon in mid-2011.  

“Our Islamic banking operations have performed extremely well in Sudan and we are planning to open many more branches in the coming years,” says the QNB source. “We are looking to expand further in the Middle East and North Africa region and in Asia.”

QNB posted a 41.5 per cent increase in third quarter profit this year to stand at QR1.5bn ($412m) compared to QR1.06bn in the same period in 2009. It recorded a net profit of QR4.2bn for the first nine months of 2010.

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