Bahrain lender sells Ahli Bank stake to Qatar Foundation

Gulf state's largest listed lender sells 33 percent of Ahli Bank to sovereign fund

Ahli United Bank, Bahrain's largest listed lender, has sold most of its 33 percent stake in Qatar's Ahli Bank to sovereign fund Qatar Foundation.

The sale, involving all but 1,000 of Ahli United's 37.38m shares, still requires the approval of Ahli Bank shareholders, an Ahli Bank filing to the Qatar bourse said on Thursday.

No price was given but the stake would have been worth QAR1.93bn (US$530.2m) at Wednesday's QAR51.70 closing price.

Ahli Bank, Qatar's seventh-largest lender by market value, had said in November its strategic partner would offload its holding and that the proposed sale was being reviewed by the Qatar central bank.

Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organisation wholly-owned by the Qatar royal family and which focuses on developing the Gulf Arab state's education and science sectors, will now become Ahli Bank's largest shareholder, followed by the Qatar Investment Authority which has a 16.7 percent stake.

The purchase by a Qatari sovereign fund not known for investments in the financial sector could indicate a lack of interest among other commercial banks, a Dubai-based banker said.

"It was always a question of how much control you could exercise with a 30 percent stake. Qatar is already a very over-banked nation and if you don't have majority ownership, there is little you could do there," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Shares in Ahli Bank were up 3.5 percent by 0730 GMT.

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on arabianbusiness.com may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Saudi Arabia spends money to make money

Saudi Arabia spends money to make money

Tour of Asia by Saudi Arabia's King Salman advances drive to...

Soft money: will cash transactions soon be a thing of the past?

Soft money: will cash transactions soon be a thing of the past?

The rapid digitisation of banking in the UAE is enabling robots...

Oman gains breathing space with jumbo $5bn bond sale

Oman gains breathing space with jumbo $5bn bond sale

Order books for the issue totalled $20bn, showing that Oman can...

Most Discussed
sponsoredTracking