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Qatari bank sees no JV approval by year-end

Doha, September 13, 2011

Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) does not expect approval for its joint venture with GulfMena Alternative Investments before the end of the year, its chief executive said.

QFIB, an Islamic investment firm, and GulfMena Alternative Investments are in the process of setting up a sharia-compliant asset management firm.

The firm, which will receive seed money from QFIB, will focus on providing exposure to Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern markets.

'It's still a work in progress,' Emad Mansour told Reuters on Monday on the sidelines of a private equity conference. 'We think we're going to be seeking an official licence in the next four to six weeks.'

'Hopefully with another four to six weeks from that we should have the nod from regulators,' he added.

Mansour said in July that the company had aimed to file for regulatory approval from the Qatari authorities by mid-August.

He reiterated that the company expects double-digit revenue growth 'in the region of 20 percent' in 2011. The firm posted revenues of $280 million in 2010.

But he said the current economic conditions remain unfavourable, making it unlikely that QFIB will look to exit any investments in the near future.

'We're happy to sit on the assets we have because we believe we won't be realising the full economic value of these assets,' he said. 'I don't think we'll be making any exits any time soon.'

QFIB had said in July that it hopes to exit its 14 percent investment in Abu Dhabi-based Al Noor Medical through an initial public offering (IPO) in 2012.

Mansour said the firm does expect to close one or two acquisitions before the end of the year. 'The pipeline I wouldn't say is full but it's decent,' he said.-Reuters

Tags: Joint venture | approval | GulfMena Alternative Investments | Qatar First Investment Bank | Qatari bank |

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