QNB to expand Islamic banking network


Al Watani Al Islami was instrumental in enabling QNB to show a quantum jump in its net profit in the latest the half yearly (H1) financial results. Perhaps as a consequence, it will have more operating centres in future, said QNB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ali Shareef Al Emadi yesterday.

Addressing media the day after the H1 results were announced Al Emadi also added that QNB has plans to further expand its network in a bid to emerge as a leading bank in the region. Financial analysts were also present at the briefing.

"QNB Al Islami contributed to a large extent to the overall success of the bank, as Al Islami’s profitability reached QR77.3m, up from QR30.3m delivered on June 30, 2006. Meanwhile, dues from financing activities reached QR3.14bn, compared to QR1.463bn in the first half of 2006," he said.

Al Emadi added: "QNB Al Islami’s financing activities increased by 115 per cent to QR3.1bn. And its net profit increased by 155 per cent to QR77.3mn."

He provided an overview of the local and international branch network that is now spread over 65 locations around the world, and includes Ansbacher. The domestic network of branches and offices reached 42, while internationally, the presence reached 13 and for that of QNB Al Islami, the figure is 10 branches and offices.

"QNB’s credit rating is the highest in the region and best in the world. In May 2007 Standard and Poor’s raised QNB’s longer-term rating to 1A+’ from ‘A’," he said.

On project financing, Al Emadi said: "Qatar is historically known as the pioneer in the region in project financing. According to international ratings, QNB is one of the 20 banks identified as the best in this sector. In Qatar alone we have a $ 1bn stake in the segment. This is in addition to major international stakes."

Replying to another query he said that the volume of projects in Qatar is really large "Qatari banks alone cannot afford it. Hence, international banks have also emerged as major players in project finance," said the CEO.

Al Emadi attributed the bank’s quantum jump in profit to Qatar’s unprecedented economic boom. Improved service and strategic interventions in local and external markets are other reasons that were doled out.

He termed reports that QNB has plans to take over a Kuwaiti bank as "media speculation". "We have never said we are going to take over a bank. But QNB has definite plans to emerge as a lead player in the region," Al Emadi said emphatically.

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