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Mon 19 Jan 2009 04:01 PM

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Qatar gov't orders Barwa, Qatar Real Estate merger

Gulf Arab gas exporter sees fourth merger deal in three months; Barwa is still studying terms.

Qatar's government has ordered a merger between Barwa Real Estate and Qatar Real Estate Investment Co to merge operations, the fourth merger deal in the Gulf Arab gas exporter in three months."The move comes in line with the country's policy in investment to maximise higher return on investment in the Qatari shareholding companies while enriching the national economy and supporting the economic development in the State of Qatar," the firms said in a statement on the bourse website.

Both firms agreed to conduct a study in order to meet the necessary requirements for such directives, they added, without giving further details.

However, Barwa Real Estate is still studying the terms and conditions in a planned merger with Qatar Real Estate Investment Co, Barwa's finance chief said on Monday after the government ordered the two firms to join forces.

"We're still studying conditions and terms," said Tamer Khedr, chief financial officer and acting president of financial services at Barwa. "They have a very stable, predictable cash flow."

Khedr said it was too early to say whether Barwa would need to raise new capital to complete the transaction.

The two firms have a combined market capitalisation worth $2.5 billion, according to Reuters data.

Khedr said Barwa aimed to finish what projects it had started but had no new plans to launch new projects. Qatar ordered a merger between Qatar Meat & Livestock Co (Mawashi) and Al Meera Consumer Goods Co earlier on Monday.

In November, the government ordered Qatar Navigation and Qatar Shipping to merge.

Earlier this month, Qatar's Gulf Warehousing said it was merging with Agility Qatar, a unit of Kuwait's Agility, the Gulf's biggest logistics firm.