Barwa bank bids for 75% of Qatar's First Finance

Shares for every share in First Finance Company Barwa Bank said it will issue. (AFP)

Barwa Bank, a unit of Qatar's Barwa Real Estate, offered to buy at least 75 per cent of First Finance Company in a long-awaited deal as the new lender seeks a foothold in Qatar's banking sector.

Barwa Bank said it will issue 1.54 shares for every share in First Finance Company to acquire at least 75 per cent and up to 100 per cent of First Finance Company, a Qatar-based financial services firm.

First Finance Company received a takeover offer from Barwa in May last year and said then it had initially accepted. Barwa Bank in May last year received regulatory approval to start operations in Qatar.

It said around that time it was considering buying financial and investment companies to help fund its property projects.

Barwa Bank said in January it will purchase The First Investor, a Doha-based investment firm, in an all-stock deal.

Barwa Real Estate, an affiliate of the state-owned Qatar Investment Authority's $40bn property wing Qatari Diar, said last year it was considering buying financial and investment companies to incorporate into a bank. First Finance is an Islamic firm with a market capitalisation worth $385 million (Dh1,414m) preceding yesterday's bid, according to Reuters data, which drove shares up as much as nine per cent. Barwa Real Estate, the parent firm of Barwa Bank, had a market capitalisation of $2bn.

 

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