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Mon 29 Aug 2011 06:06 PM

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Qatar National Bank eyes $7.5bn bond programme

Gulf state's largest lender says bond programme will fund its banking operations

Qatar National Bank eyes $7.5bn bond programme
Qatari investor stock exchange

Qatar National Bank, the Gulf Arab state's largest lender, set up a $7.5 billion euro medium term note (EMTN) programme to fund its banking operations, the company said in a statement on Monday.

QNB said it has appointed Barclays , HSBC and QNB Capital as arrangers for the bond programme but did not indicate if the lender had any plans to issue debt in the near future. QNB last issued a five-year $1.5 billion with a coupon of 3.125 percent in November.

The lender is 50 percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority and has been expanding abroad, with operations in Syria, Jordan, the UAE and Switzerland.

It reported a 29 percent jump in second quarter profit in July, buoyed by increased lending and customer deposits.

Banks in Qatar are expected to benefit as the country is one of the world's fastest growing economies and is set to spend heavily on infrastructure as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar's central bank earlier this month cut key interest rates in a move aimed at spurring activity in the local banking sector and reviving private sector credit growth.

Following the move, Qatari banks have indicated an interest in tapping the bond market.

Commercial Bank of Qatar , the Gulf Arab state's third largest lender, appointed three banks and its own investment banking unit to arrange a $5 billion EMTN programme, a prospectus showed, paving the way for the lender to tap international debt capital markets.

Doha Bank is also likely to go ahead with a planned bond issuance by the first quarter of 2012, the bank's chief executive said this month, adding that the central bank's move has helped close the gap between foreign currency and the riyal.

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