Qatar's QNB ups stake in Tunisian bank

Qatar National Bank says it acquires extra 49% interest in Tunisian Qatari Bank

Qatar National Bank has acquired an additional 49.96 percent stake of Tunisian Qatari Bank, bringing its ownership stake to 99.96 percent, pending regulatory approval, the lender has said.

QNB is buying the stake from the Tunisian government, a company statement said. It had bought 50 percent in 2008.

The acquisition "would strengthen and support the technical and administrative resources of the Tunisian Qatari Bank, and strengthen the risk management framework to allow it to benefit from the Group's international reach," the statement said.

The Gulf state's largest lender, which has snapped up several banking stakes as part of a regional expansion strategy, said in December it was looking at a majority stake in a top 10 Turkish bank as a means to add value.

QNB, which already has stakes in lenders in countries such as Indonesia, Jordan and Tunisia, wants its international business to contribute around 40 percent of profit and 45 percent of total assets by 2017, chief financial officer Ramzi Mari said in December.

The lender, which is 50 percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority and has a market value of around $26bn, raised its stake in Abu Dhabi-based Commercial Bank International to 39.9 percent from 16.5 percent last year.

It also boosted its stake in Iraq's Mansour Bank to 51 percent and bought a 49 percent stake in Libya's Bank of Commerce and Development in April.

The acquisitive Gulf Arab lender earlier this month posted fourth-quarter net profits of QR2.1bn, which were essentially flat compared with the previous year.

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