Doha Bank breaks out beyond Qatar

Qatar institution announces plans to expand into the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and India.
Doha Bank breaks out beyond Qatar
By Reuters
Fri 23 Feb 2007 04:19 PM

Doha Bank, Qatar's fifth-largest lender by market value, said on Thursday it was expanding into the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and India.

"We have got a licence to open a branch in Dubai and this will be opened in the second quarter this year," the bank's Deputy Chief Executive Raghavan Seetharaman told Reuters.

"We have applied to regulators in Kuwait and Bahrain and expect to get licences soon. The whole Gulf region is opening up - securities, real estate, banking - and we want to be present in these states," he said on the sidelines of a seminar late on Thursday.

Doha Bank already has a representative office in Dubai.

"We also plan to open branches in India, which is a strategic partner of Qatar whose bilateral trade with India is high. Qatar also has a huge Indian population," he said, without giving details.

Doha Bank's fourth-quarter profit fell 50 percent to 136.47 million riyals ($37.49 million) compared to the same period of 2005. The results were twice as bad as the worst expectations in a Reuters survey from December.

The bank's shares have dragged the Qatar market down in recent weeks after a 5 percent cash dividend proposal disappointed investors.

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