Qatar National Bank (QNB), the largest bank in the gas-rich Gulf state, plans to increase capital to maintain reserves above regulatory requirements and support future growth.

The lender, which announced a 7.7 per cent increase in its 2015 net profit to QR11.3bn ($3.1bn), said it will seek shareholders’ approval to issue bonds to increase Basel-III compliant Tier-1 and Tier-2 capital.

The board will determine the size, timing and pricing of any capital-boosting bond issue. QNB’s total capital adequacy ratio, a combination of both Tier-1 and Tier-2 capital and a key indicator of the bank’s health, stood at 16.3 per cent at the end of December 2015, higher than the 12.5 per cent minimum required by Qatar’s banking regulator, the statement added.

The bank’s 2015 profit was driven by operating income, which increased to QR16.3bn, up by 3 per cent compared with 2014. Total assets rose 10.7 per cent from December 2014 to reach QR539bn, the highest ever achieved by the group, while loans and advances jumped 14.8 per cent to QR388bn.

QNB aims to be the leading bank in the Middle East and Africa by the end of 2017. It is the second-largest lender in the region by assets, behind South Africa’s Standard Bank.

It has made several acquisitions in recent years. The lender signed a definitive agreement in December 2015 with the National Bank of Greece to acquire its entire stake in Turkey’s Finansbank.