DUBAI, (Reuters) – State-controlled Qatar National Bank said on Wednesday it was in advanced talks to acquire 50 percent of Tunis-based Tunisian-Qatari Bank, which is equally owned by the governments of Qatar and Tunisia.
QNB, which in July stepped up its foreign expansion programme, would still need regulatory approval for any final agreement, it said in a statement on the Qatari bourse Web site. It did not give more details about the talks.
Tunisian-Qatari Bank, licensed in 2004, has share capital of 30 million Tunisian dinars ($25 million), according to its Web site.
In July, QNB took over the Qatar government’s shares in Jordan’s second-biggest lender, paying $442 million for the 20.6 percent stake as it expands abroad to mitigate against domestic rivalry.
The acquisition was QNB’s first since 2004 when it bought British wealth manager Ansbacher Group for 135 million pounds ($269 million) from South Africa’s FirstRand.
In September, the bank said it had agreed with partners to set up a bank in Syria, the latest Gulf lender interested in entering the country since it opened its banking market to foreigners three years ago.
QNB shareholders in October approved the bank’s plan to raise about 5.06 billion riyals ($1.39 billion) through selling shares to existing investors to finance expansion.