QATAR BANKS TALK MERGER
Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar announced that they are in initial talks about a possible merger that will create a single Shariah-compliant lender with more than QR160 billion ($44 billion) in assets.
Khaleeji institutions in a cash crunch are increasingly taking the merger route – in 2016 severals sovereign funds, banks, national oil companies in the region have consolidated their assets – and this makes perfect sense for Qatar where more than 18 banks are serving a small population of 2.8 million. If this merger comes through, the resulting entity will be the country’s largest Sharia-compliant lender and its secondlargest overall, it’s combined assets placing it ahead of Qatar Islamic Bank (QR153 billion) but still way behind Qatar National Bank (QR713 billion). The news buoyed up Masraf Al Rayan’s share by more than 7.5%.