Doha Bank Targets Tripling Overseas Profit Share on Asia Growth

Doha Bank QSC, Qatar’s fifth-largest lender by assets, aims to triple profit from overseas to as much as 30 percent of net income by 2015 as trade and investment between Persian Gulf states and Asia increase.

The bank’s expansion, excluding acquisitions, is expected to raise profit earned abroad from about 10 percent now, Chief Executive Officer Raghavan Seetharaman said in an interview in Hong Kong today.

Doha Bank joins Qatari lenders expanding overseas to compensate for limited growth prospects in a country of 2 million people. The lender is seeking branch licenses in India and China, which top its list of foreign markets to establish a foothold in, said Seetharaman.

“If you go to countries like India, you need distribution channels,” he said. “There could be acquisition opportunities as well. I’m not ruling that out, provided we get a license.”

The bank today opened a representative office in Hong Kong, adding to its office in Shanghai. It also has representative offices in Singapore, Japan, Australia and South Korea, according to its website.

Net income climbed 5.1 percent to 1.3 billion riyals ($357 million) last year. Third-quarter profit rose 2.5 percent 328.6 million riyals, the Doha-based company said this month.

Doha Bank plans to issue a 2 billion-riyal Tier 1 perpetual bond by the end of March to bolster lending and fund expansion abroad. It attracted 2.8 billion riyals in a rights offer in March and in May reiterated plans to sell shares in London.

Qatar National Bank SAQ, the nation’s biggest, agreed in December to buy 77 percent of Societe Generale SA’s Egyptian unit, while Commercial Bank of Qatar QSC, the second largest, agreed in March to buy a 71 percent stake in Turkey’s Alternatifbank AS.

Shares of Doha Bank jumped 18 percent this year, compared with a 17 percent gain for the country’s benchmark QE Index.

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