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Sun 2 Jun 2013 12:39 PM

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Doha Bank eyes Hong Kong, India, Saudi for growth

Qatar's fourth-largest lender aims to double its overseas profits by 2015

Doha Bank eyes Hong Kong, India, Saudi for growth
Doha Bank CEO, R Seetharaman.

Doha Bank, Qatar's fourth-largest lender, is to expand into Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and India as part of plans to nearly double its profits from international operations by 2015, it has been announced .

The bank will open an office in Hong Kong in a “couple months”, CEO Raghavan Seetharaman said in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the weekend. The bank is also looking to acquire licenses in India and Saudi Arabia, the report added.

The lender, which raised nearly $430m from a rights issue in March, aims to increase its share of profits from overseas business to 15 percent, from eight percent currently, Seetharaman told Reuters in April.

The bank plans to open a representative office in Sharjah in the coming months, the third-largest emirate in the UAE, as part of the expansion plans, Seetharaman said.

It recently opened an office in Australia, becoming the first Qatari lender to establish a presence in the country.

Gulf lenders, including the likes of Qatar National Bank (QNB) and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), are facing intense competition in their home markets and are seeking to expand regionally.

QNB recently bought the Egyptian arm of Societe Generale in a $2bn deal, while NBAD brought in the banker who led Australia and New Zealand Banking Group's push into Asia as its new chief executive earlier in April to aid its expansion plans.

Doha Bank, 17 percent owned by the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, is seeking to increase its share capital by 50 percent to help address a weak capital position and help boost expansion.

* With agencies

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