By Andy Sambidge
Gulf's biggest lender says it has received all regulatory approvals to establish subsidiary
Qatar National Bank (QNB) Group has announced that it has received all regulatory approvals to establish a fully owned subsidiary in India.
Under the name of QNB (India) Private Limited, the new unit is expected to start operations during the third quarter of 2013.
QNB (India) will take the role of extending consultancy and advisory services in the field of investment and finance for the Middle East companies that are willing to establish businesses in India or invest in India.
The acquisitive Gulf Arab lender last month posted an 6.7 percent jump in first-quarter net profit on the back of strong loan growth in the Gulf state.
QNB, which completed the purchase of a majority stake in Societe Generale's Egyptian arm for $2bn in March, posted a net profit of QR2.1bn ($577m) for the first three months of 2013.
The India move is part of an aggressive overseas expansion by QNB which has seen it grow to be the largest bank in the Middle East and North Africa.
QNB, which has snapped up several banking stakes as part of a regional expansion strategy, already has stakes in lenders in countries such as Indonesia, Jordan and Tunisia and wants its international business to contribute around 40 percent of profit and 45 percent of total assets by 2017.
The lender, which is 50 percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority and has a market value of around $26bn, raised its stake in Abu Dhabi-based Commercial Bank International to 39.9 percent from 16.5 percent last year.
It also boosted its stake in Iraq's Mansour Bank to 51 percent and bought a 49 percent stake in Libya's Bank of Commerce and Development last April.