Qatar Bank Al Khaliji Gets Shareholder Assent For Up To $1.75bn Bond Sale

Bond issuance from Qatari borrowers has been rare in the last 18 months.

Qatar’s Al Khaliji Commercial Bank won shareholder assent on Wednesday to issue up to $1.75 billion in bonds which its chief executive said would be used for financing activities in the Gulf Arab state.

Bond issuance from Qatari borrowers has been rare in the last 18 months as government-related entities cut back on their international debt and banks have been flush with cash from local deposits so were in no need of outside funding.

Only one borrower tapped the market in 2014 — Commercial Bank of Qatar, which completed a $750 million deal in June.

Any deal from the sixth-largest lender by assets in the Gulf Arab state is therefore likely to be well-received by investors looking to gain access to Qatar’s economy, which is expected to continue benefiting from high state spending on development schemes and projects related to hosting the 2022 soccer World Cup.

“The majority (of the cash) will be used for financing internally because the main focus of the bank is to invest inside Qatar,” Fahad al-Khalifa, the bank’s chief executive, told its annual shareholder meeting.

Speaking to Reuters after the meeting, Khalifa said part of the $1.75 billion allowance could be sold this year, although he declined to give specifics.

“We will hit the market for sure and have a roadshow and see how are the prices, the attitude and appetite of the market,” Khalifa said.

Al Khaliji has issued one international bond previously, selling a $500 million five-year deal in October 2013. It was trading to yield 2.685 per cent at 1445 GMT, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The bank reported a 2.2 per cent increase in net profit for 2014 last month and Khalifa said he was optimistic the bank would record further growth in 2015.

“I hope, God willing, that we will continue our growth and I expect that profits will be better than last year,” he said, declining to give a specific percentage.