Qatar’s Al Khaliji Commercial Bank said on Monday its shareholders had approved increasing its foreign ownership limit to 49 per cent, while its chief executive was quoted as saying it planned no public bond issues in 2014.
The ownership motion was agreed at the bank’s annual general meeting on Sunday, the statement said. The previous limit was 25 per cent; only 16.18 percent of the firm is currently held by non-Qatari investors, according to bourse data.
“This change allows the bank to open up to international investors and increase the liquidity of the bank’s shares,” Al Khaliji said in a statement.
International equity index compiler MSCI will upgrade Qatar and the UAE to emerging market status in May; before then, it will choose individual stocks from those countries for inclusion in its emerging market indexes.
Al Khaliji said it had raised its foreign ownership limit after reviewing criteria for inclusion.
The Qatari bank posted a net profit of QR551 million ($151.2 million) in 2013, up 7.6 per cent when compared to the previous year.
Commenting on the results, chairman and managing director Sheikh Hamad Bin Faisal Bin Thani Al-Thani said: “2013 was the initial year in our new mid-term strategy and it was important for us to prioritize and deliver on certain objectives during the year to ensure we are well positioned to continue gathering momentum to grow our commercial franchise in our chosen markets with our preferred customers.”
“The long-term impact of these achievements will strengthen our business model in a manner that enables sustainable revenue streams into the future and ultimately benefits our shareholders,” he stated at the company’s annual general assembly meeting held at the Four Seasons Hotel.
During the meeting, the shareholders of al khaliji reviewed and endorsed the external auditor’s report on the bank’s financial position and the accounts submitted by the board of directors for 2013.
They also endorsed the Board recommendation to distribute cash dividends of 10 per cent of the bank’s paid-up capital i.e. QR1 per share.
The Qatari bank’s shareholders discussed the Corporate Governance Report for 2013, absolved the board members from any liability, and fixed their remuneration for 2013. They also approved the appointment of Ernest and Young as external auditors for 2014 and fixed their fees.
On its future plans, Sheikh Hamad said: “In 2014 we will continue to focus on areas that represent the best opportunities for al khaliji, to achieve a continued strong and sustainable growth rate.”
“We will communicate our preferred customer message being more exclusive and tailored and make our market presence felt,” he added.