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Barwa Bank to Seek Credit Rating in 2013, Followed by Debt Offer

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Barwa Bank, a closely-held Sharia-compliant lender and Qatar’s newest bank, plans to apply for a credit rating next year before a possible debt offering.

“On the back of a strong set of numbers in 2011 and what we hope will be a good set of results in 2012, we will seek a rating in 2013,” Chief Executive Officer Steve Troop said in an interview. “When we have the rating in place, we will then look toward some form medium-term qualifying instrument and given that we are a Sharia-compliant Islamic bank, it would be a sukuk structure.”

Qatar’s biggest lender Qatar National Bank SAQ raised $1 billion in a bond offering earlier this month. Doha Bank QSC, Al Khaliji and International Bank of Qatar have announced plans to sell debt after no sales by lenders in the country last year.

Barwa Bank, which is 37.5 percent owned by Barwa Real Estate Co., opened in 2010 and plans to announce financial results for 2011 in the next few weeks, Troop said. The lender completed a rights issue last year intended to raise 1.7 billion riyals ($453 million), according to an e-mailed statement. The bank acquired Al Yusr, the Islamic unit of International Bank of Qatar’s, last year after Qatar’s central bank ordered conventional lenders to stop offering Sharia-compliant services.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Tuttle in Doha at rtuttle@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at rhamade@bloomberg.net

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