Qatar bank eyes UAE buy
Dubai, July 31, 2007
Commercial Bank of Qatar is in talks to buy a minority stake in UAE-based United Arab Bank.
The talks between Qatar's second-largest lender by market value and Abu Dhabi-listed United Arab Bank will probably last about two months, Commercial Bank chief executive officer Andrew Stevens told Reuters.
Across the Gulf, banks, buoyed by the economic windfall of a tripling in oil prices since 2002, are expanding overseas and making acquisitions as competition intensifies in their home markets.
In the UAE, the second-largest Arab economy, the Dubai government is combining Emirates Bank International and National Bank of Dubai (NBD) to create the Gulf's biggest lender by assets to meet competition from regional and international lenders such as HSBC Holdings Plc and Standard Chartered Plc.
The planned investment by Commercial Bank of Qatar would be its first in the UAE and its biggest since it took a 34 percent stake in National Bank of Oman two years ago.
The talks are part of the bank's strategy to "establish a regional presence through a confederation with other lenders," CEO Stevens said.
"It's an extremely well-run bank and has been profitable right from the start," he said of Sharjah-based United Arab Bank. - Reuters