AUB nets $213m from bank stake sale
Manama, February 4, 2013
Ahli United Bank is seeking regional acquisition targets after making a total profit of $212.9 million on the sale of a 29.4 per cent stake in Qatar's Ahli Bank, Bahrain's largest lender said on Monday.
Ahli United said last month it had agreed to sell the majority of its holding in Qatar's seventh-largest lender by market value to Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organisation wholly-owned by the country's royal family.
Completing the sale on Monday for a total price of $615.9 million, equivalent to QR60 ($16.48) per share, Ahli United said the move was forced upon it by regulatory considerations and didn't mark a reversal of its expansion strategy.
"The decision to sell our stake in Ahli Bank was triggered by our inability due to legal factors to maintain our minority shareholding above the minimum levels required for Ahli Bank to qualify as a strategic core investment," it said in a filing to the Bahrain stock exchange.
"Ahli United will continue to seek attractive opportunities to develop its banking franchise in the region and to enhance its shareholder value."
The sale price values the Qatari bank at 2.2-times book value, the statement added. The QR60 per share is a 5.3 per cent premium to Ahli Bank's closing share price the day before Ahli United said it had put the stake up for sale.-Reuters
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