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Wed 12 May 2010 11:08 AM

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Qatar banks Khaliji, IBQ in early-stage tie-up talks

Discussions are 'very preliminary and exploratory', no decisions made yet.

Qatar banks Khaliji, IBQ in early-stage tie-up talks
(Getty Images)

Qatar's Al Khaliji Commercial Bank on Wednesday said it is in talks to merge with International Bank of Qatar, but that the discussions were still at an early stage.

Al Khaliji, Qatar's sixth-largest bank by market value, is "in discussions with another financial institution regarding the evaluation of the possibility of a combination of the businesses of both parties, and revealed that this financial institution is International Bank of Qatar," according to a statement posted on the bourse website.

The bank said the "the discussions are very preliminary and exploratory, and that no decisions have been made," but didn't disclose any further details.

Khaliji has a market value of $1.8 billion, according to Reuters data. Its shares have risen nearly 13 percent in the past two days when it announced it was in preliminary talks with an unnamed party.

Its biggest shareholder is Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company with a 17.2 percent stake, according to the bank's website. Khaliji is active in retail and corporate banking, as well as Islamic finance.

International Bank of Qatar (IBQ) is unlisted and has around 11 branches in the country, according to its website. National Bank of Kuwait , Kuwait's largest bank by market value, owns a 30 percent stake in IBQ, according to the company website.

At 0710 GMT, shares in Khaliji traded 2.2 percent higher, while the Qatari index fell 0.3 percent.

Earlier this year, Qatar's Barwa Bank, a unit of Barwa Real Estate said it would buy The First Investor, a Doha-based investment firm and offered to buy at least 75 percent of First Finance Company. (Reuters)

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