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QNB Hires Barclays, Citigroup, HSBC for Possible Bond Sale

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Qatar National Bank SAQ, which is bidding to buy Dexia SA’s Turkish unit Denizbank AS, hired banks to arrange meetings with investors as it seeks to tap the debt market for the fist time in 14 months.

Barclays Capital, Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc and QNB Capital will arrange the meetings in London from Feb. 13, the bank said in a statement to the Qatari bourse today. A sale of a benchmark-sized dollar bond may follow subject to market conditions, it said. A benchmark issue usually raises at least $500 million.

Qatar National Bank, the Persian Gulf country’s biggest lender by assets, is the last serious bidder for Denizbank after the withdrawal of HSBC and OAO Sberbank, people familiar with the process said last month. The bank “hopes” to complete the purchase of Denizbank this year if “the price is right,” Chairman Yousef Hussain Kamal said Jan. 29.

The bank, rated Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Service, the fourth-highest investment grade, last sold bonds in November 2010, raising $1.5 billion in five-year notes at a coupon of 3.125 percent. That offering received $6 billion in bids, it said at the time.

The yield on Qatar National Bank’s bonds due 2015 has dropped 26 basis points, or 0.26 percentage point, this year to 3 percent today, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg. The average yield on bonds sold by financial services companies in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Qatar and Saudi Arabia, dropped 56 basis points over the same period, according to the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai GCC Financial Services U.S. Dollar Bond Index.

Qatar National Bank’s profit rose 32 percent last year to 7.5 billion riyals ($2 billion) as loans and advances increased, beating analysts estimates. The shares gained 0.6 percent to 136.7 riyals in Doha today, giving the lender a market capitalization of 96 billion riyals.

To contact the reporter on this story: Arif Sharif in Dubai at asharif2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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