Qatar National Bank buys 49 pct stake in Libyan bank

Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:40am GMT

DOHA, April 15 (Reuters) – Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf state’s largest bank, has acquired a 49 percent stake in Libya’s Bank of Commerce and Development as part of the Qatari lender’s aggressive expansion strategy.

The Benghazi-based bank approved QNB as a strategic partner, according to a memorandum of understanding signed by the two institutions, a statement from QNB late on Thursday said.

Bank of Commerce and Development, which employs around 820 people, has total assets of $2 billion and a network of 32 branches, the statement said. No other financial details of the transaction was disclosed.

The deal “comes in line with QNB’s strategic plan of international expansion in selected and promising markets,” QNB Group Chief Executive Officer Ali Shareef Al-Emadi said in the statement.

QNB is also said to be in negotiations to acquire Turkey’s Denizbank, the fast-growing Turkish arm of euro zone debt casualty Dexia.

Last week sources said QNB had made a higher bid after earlier talks stalled over price. [ID: nL6E8FB1Z5]

The bank is 50-percent owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority and has operations in Syria, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.

Qatar was a major supporter of Libya’s NATO-backed rebels, providing funds, arms and troops and was instrumental in helping overthrow former leader Muammar Gaddafi. (Reporting By Regan Doherty; Editing by Dinesh Nair)

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