By Archana Narayanan and Dinesh Nair
Qatar National Bank QPSC is considering options to raise financing as an ongoing standoff with its Gulf neighbors threatens to weaken liquidity in the gas-rich country, people familiar with the matter said.
The Middle East’s largest lender by assets held early discussions with international banks about the possibility of a private placement, bond sale or loan in the fourth quarter, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Final decisions haven’t been made and the bank may decide against a deal, the people said.
Qatari lenders are under pressure after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic relations and closed transport routes in June, accusing the nation of funding Islamist terrorism, a charge it denies. Foreign deposits at Qatar’s banks may fall further after dropping the most in almost two years in June as some Gulf lenders refuse to roll over holdings, people with knowledge of the matter said last week.
There is no definite decision in this regard, a QNB spokesperson said.
The bank’s expansion into Asia is helping QNB offset the impact of the Saudi-led spat, Chief Executive Officer Ali al-Kuwari said last month. QNB aims to cut the income generated from its domestic market to 50 percent by 2020 from about 63 percent currently, al-Kuwari said.