Qatari bank offers $6bn for Ahli

International Bank of Qatar has offered takeover bid in cash and stock for a 55% stake in the Bahraini lender.
Qatari bank offers $6bn for Ahli
By Safura Rahimi aned Reuters
Sun 15 Jul 2007 06:08 PM

International Bank of Qatar has offered to acquire Ahli United Bank, Bahrain's largest lender by market value, for up to $6.1 billion in cash and stock, an Ahli United shareholder said on Sunday.

International Bank of Qatar, an affiliate of National Bank of Kuwait, has offered to pay between $2.05 and $2.25 per share in cash for a 55% stake and the rest in stock, Kuwait's Tamdeen Investment Co. said.

Tamdeen had reached an initial agreement to sell its 13% stake at $2.25 per share, the Kuwaiti company said in a statement on the Bahrain stock exchange Web site.

Ahli United's stock last traded at $1.39 on July 10, after which it was suspended because of takeover rumours. It had climbed 39% since April 14 when Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas first reported a takeover bid for the bank.

A spokesman for International Bank of Qatar, who did not want to be identified, declined to comment on the statement, calling it a rumour.

International Bank of Qatar is 20% owned and managed by National Bank of Kuwait, which has been looking to expand abroad to fend off growing competition at home from foreign lenders.

International Bank of Qatar is the country's oldest locally owned lender, set up in 1956 under the name ANZ Grindlays, according to its Web site.

Standard Chartered bought Grindlays in 2000 and then sold a stake to National Bank of Kuwait. National Bank of Kuwait officials could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Qatar investors, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, own the remaining 80% of International Bank of Qatar.

Ahli United had not been informed by shareholders about the takeover bid, a bank official, who declined to be identified, said.

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