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3 Qatar banks in merger talks

Al Khalij Commercial Bank, Ahli Bank and International Bank of Qatar are in talks on a possible merger. This may mean the new entity would have assets worth more than $30 billion. News reports said the merger may set a rare example of consolidation among banks in the Gulf region, where powerful local shareholders are usually reluctant to cede control due to the prestige of owning their own lender. The merged entity may be on par with Commercial Bank of Qatar, the country’s third-largest lender by assets. The last bank merger talks in Qatar – between Al Khalij Commercial Bank, known as Al Khaliji, and IBQ – did not succeed. News reports suggested that the discussions are at an early stage and no advisors have been hired yet. Al Khaliji, the largest of the three lenders, is 39.99%-owned by the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund. Ahli Bank is 29.4%-owned by Qatar Foundation, a state-owned investment vehicle traditionally focused on science and education. Unlisted International Bank of Qatar has senior Qatari royal family members among its major shareholders.

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