Commercial Bank of Qatar Said to Plan Meetings for Bond Sale

Commercial Bank of Qatar QSC, the Persian Gulf country’s second-biggest bank by assets, plans to meet investors for the possible sale of a benchmark-sized, dollar bond, three people familiar with the matter said.

The Doha-based bank hired BNP Paribas SA, HSBC Holdings Plc and Morgan Stanley to arrange the meetings starting March 22, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is private. Meetings are scheduled in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and London and a bond sale may follow, subject to market conditions, the people said. A benchmark-sized bond raises at least $500 million.

Commercial Bank of Qatar follows other Middle East lenders in raising money from bond sales with U.S. midswap rates near the lowest levels in at least 20 years. National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest bank, raised $750 million from the sale of a five-year bond yesterday, while Doha Bank QSC, Qatar’s fifth-biggest bank, sold a $500 million note on March 7.

Qatari banks are also selling bonds as the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas prepares to host the 2022 soccer World Cup by pursuing infrastructure projects. Qatar National Bank SAQ, the country’s biggest bank, raised $1 billion from the sale of five-year notes in February.

Commercial Bank of Qatar, which said in January its 2011 profit rose 15 percent, is rated A1 by Moody’s Investors Service, its fifth-best investment grade score, and A minus at Standard & Poor’s, its seventh-highest grade.

The lender last sold a dollar bond in November 2009 when it raised $1 billion from the sale of a five-year note that pays interest of 5 percent and was priced to yield 250 basis points over the midswap rate, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It also sold a 10-year bond that month raising $600 million at a coupon of 7.5 percent, or a spread of 400 basis points. Doha Bank’s dollar bonds this month were priced to yield 262.5 basis points over the midswap rate.

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