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QFIB eyes regional deals; Noor IPO seen 2012

Doha, July 6, 2011

Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) is eyeing at least five regional equity deals each valued at between $15 million to $60 million and expects to close two to three of those acquisitions this year, its chief executive said.

The investment bank, which announced purchase of a $16 million stake in Kuwait Energy last week, will continue its acquisition spree despite caution in the marketplace that stalled its original plans for $250 million in deals in 2011.

"We have a healthy pipeline of investment deals. We are eyeing deals in Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and UAE in areas such as healthcare and food processing," Emad Mansour, QFIB's chief executive, told Reuters.

On the asset management side, QFIB is moving forward with its plans for the sharia-compliant asset management firm it is setting up with Dubai-based GulfMena Alternative Investments.

"We have a target date of filing for regulatory approval with (Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority) in mid-August," he said. "In our experience with the QFC, I don't think it will take more than two or three months to obtain approval."

The two firms said last year that they would create a joint asset management firm to tap into rising demand for Islamic investment products.

Mansour said once the joint venture gets a regulatory nod, the company would look to launch its first Islamic mutual fund, aimed at providing exposure to the Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern markets. Seed money will be provided by QFIB although the initial value of that contribution has yet to be determined.

Mansour projected QFIB revenue growth of 20 per cent in 2011 from $280 million in revenue in 2010. Net income is seen around $30 million this year from $22.8 million last year, he said.

Noor IPO in 2012

QFIB now plans to exit its investment in Abu Dhabi-based Al Noor Medical through an initial public offering in 2012 as current IPO market remains lacklustre, he said.

Mansour said in February that the company planned to list Al Noor Medical on the Abu Dhabi bourse in May.

QFIB has a 14-per cent stake in Al Noor through a consortium which holds 50 per cent. The consortium had named HSBC and J.P. Morgan to assist in the process.

"The IPO is something that we are actively working on," Mansour said. "We have a target of listing at some point in 2012. Obviously, the earlier we do it in 2012, the better."

Several Gulf-based firms have delayed or cancelled IPO plans in the last two years amid muted investor interest.

QFIB was launched in 2009 and is the first, non-affiliated sharia-compliant investment bank to be regulated by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority. – Reuters

Tags: IPO | Noor | Doha | Kuwait Energy | Qatar First Investment Bank | QFIB |

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