x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Busy times for Qatar National Bank as it beats estimates

Qatar National Bank beat estimates for the second quarter and made a push into India and China.

Qatar National Bank beat estimates for the second quarter and prepared for a push into India and China.

Doha's biggest bank reported profits of 4.7 billion Qatari riyals (Dh4.74bn) for the first half.

The results are equivalent to quarterly profits of 2.5 billion riyals, representing a 19.9 per cent increase compared with the second quarter of 2012 and ahead of analysts' estimates.

After a series of acquisitions last year, the bank said it would soon begin operations in the world's two most populous countries.

"QNB Group received all regulatory approvals to open a representative office in China, and to establish a fully owned subsidiary in India under the name of QNB (India) Private Limited which is expected to commence its operations during the third quarter of 2013," the bank said in a statement announcing its results.

It embarked on a string of acquisitions last year, taking control of National Société Générale Bank Egypt from SocGen and Iraq's Mansour Bank, while also acquiring significant stakes in Libya's Commerce and Development Bank and the UAE's Commercial Bank International. During the first quarter of this year, QNB acquired most of the shares in Tunisian Qatari Bank that it did not already own.

Were that not ambitious enough, the bank is also in the midst of changing its top management. QNB said it had appointed a new chief executive, Ali Ahmed Al Kuwairi, on Tuesday.

The previous holder of the position, Ali Al Emadi, was appointed finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle by Qatar's new ruler, Sheikh Tamim Al Thani.

Qatar's leadership transition has raised questions about policy continuity, but the local economy is still expected to perform well.

"The enormous wealth that Qatar commands suggests that it remains well placed to prosper, and the little high frequency data that is released indicates that it has maintained momentum," analysts from HSBC wrote in a research report.

"At just over 6 per cent, headline growth moderated slightly in the first quarter, but with oil and gas output flat, the data point to a non-oil sector growing at close to double-digit rates."