Fund lifts Qatar National Bank to multi-year high



Qatar National Bank (QNB) rose yesterday to its highest since 2003 after the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country's sovereign wealth fund, announced it would be taking an additional 10 per cent stake in its local banks during the first quarter.

"It is positive because it would allow banks to grow even faster by increasing their capital, strengthening their balance sheet and they would be able to lend more," said Tarik el Mejjad, an analyst at Nomura in London. QIA initially took a 10 per cent stake in Qatari banks in 2009 to replenish their capital after the global crisis.

QNB is expected to be among the main beneficiaries. The lender this week reported a 36 per cent increase in net profitto 5.7bn rials for the full year, above analyst estimates. Loan growth was up 40 per cent year on year, and deposit growth was 31.5 per cent higher. Non-performing loans remained under control, edging up slightly to 0.9 per cent last year from 0.7 per cent in 2009.

QNB released its fourth-quarter results but did not issue full-year financials, saying those data needed the approval of Qatar Central Bank.

QNB has proposed a cash dividend of 5 rials a share for last year, up 62 per cent from 2009.

The board also recommended a 25 per cent increase in capital through a rights issue in the second quarter of this year. This should dilute the equity of existing shareholders, but analysts think the long-term effect will help the share price.

The bulk of the capital increase should be employed for future growth, said Jaap Meijer, the head of the banking research team at Alembic HC Securities in Dubai. The issuance will be used to fund the bank's expansion plans, locally and internationally, and maintain its current credit rating, Mr Meijer said. "The capital increase initially should be dilutive, roughly 13 per cent, but we expect this to reverse quickly, due to the strong expansion and the high returns of the bank," he said.

QNB gained 0.5 per cent to close at 200.8 rials yesterday.

'Of Love & War'
Lynsey Addario, Penguin Press

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Key 2013/14 UAE Motorsport dates

October 4: Round One of Rotax Max Challenge, Al Ain (karting)

October 1: 1 Round One of the inaugural UAE Desert Championship (rally)

November 1-3: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Formula One)

November 28-30: Dubai International Rally

January 9-11: 24Hrs of Dubai (Touring Cars / Endurance)

March 21: Round 11 of Rotax Max Challenge, Muscat, Oman (karting)

April 4-10: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (Endurance)

Ferrari

Director: Michael Mann

Starring: Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Patrick Dempsey

Rating: 3/5

Squads

Australia: Finch (c), Agar, Behrendorff, Carey, Coulter-Nile, Lynn, McDermott, Maxwell, Short, Stanlake, Stoinis, Tye, Zampa

India: Kohli (c), Khaleel, Bumrah, Chahal, Dhawan, Shreyas, Karthik, Kuldeep, Bhuvneshwar, Pandey, Krunal, Pant, Rahul, Sundar, Umesh

Results

6.30pm: Madjani Stakes Group 2 (PA) Dh97,500 (Dirt) 1,900m, Winner: RB Frynchh Dude, Pat Cosgrave (jockey), Helal Al Alawi (trainer)

7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,400m, Winner: Mnasek, Dane O’Neill, Doug Watson.

7.40pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,600m, Winner: Grand Dubai, Sandro Paiva, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

8.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 2,200m, Winner: Meqdam, Sam Hitchcock, Doug Watson.

8.50pm: Dubai Creek Mile Listed (TB) Dh132,500 (D) 1,600m, Winner: Thegreatcollection, Pat Cosgrave, Doug Watson.

9.25pm: Conditions (TB) Dh120,000 (D) 1,900m, Winner: Sanad Libya, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

10pm: Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (D) 1,400m, Winner: Madkhal, Adrie de Vries, Fawzi Nass.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

World Cup League Two

Results

Oman beat Nepal by 18 runs

Oman beat United States by six wickets

Nepal beat United States by 35 runs

Oman beat Nepal by eight wickets

 

Fixtures

Tuesday, Oman v United States

Wednesday, Nepal v United States

 

MATCH INFO:

Second Test

Pakistan v Australia, Tuesday-Saturday, 10am​​ daily​​​​​ at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Entrance is free

Company profile

Name: Back to Games and Boardgame Space

Started: Back to Games (2015); Boardgame Space (Mark Azzam became co-founder in 2017)

Founder: Back to Games (Mr Azzam); Boardgame Space (Mr Azzam and Feras Al Bastaki)

Based: Dubai and Abu Dhabi 

Industry: Back to Games (retail); Boardgame Space (wholesale and distribution) 

Funding: Back to Games: self-funded by Mr Azzam with Dh1.3 million; Mr Azzam invested Dh250,000 in Boardgame Space  

Growth: Back to Games: from 300 products in 2015 to 7,000 in 2019; Boardgame Space: from 34 games in 2017 to 3,500 in 2019

The specs: 2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE

Price, base / as tested: Dh263,235 / Dh420,000

Engine: 3.0-litre supercharged V6

Power 375hp @ 6,500rpm

Torque: 450Nm @ 3,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Fuel consumption, combined: 9.4L / 100kms

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: ASI (formerly DigestAI)

Started: 2017

Founders: Quddus Pativada

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Artificial intelligence, education technology

Funding: $3 million-plus

Investors: GSV Ventures, Character, Mark Cuban

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Qureos
Based: UAE
Launch year: 2021
Number of employees: 33
Sector: Software and technology
Funding: $3 million

Five calorie-packed Ramadan drinks

Rooh Afza
100ml contains 414 calories
Tang orange drink
100ml serving contains 300 calories
Carob beverage mix
100ml serving contains about 300 calories
Qamar Al Din apricot drink
100ml saving contains 61 calories
Vimto fruit squash
100ml serving contains 30 calories

Roll of Honour, men’s domestic rugby season

West Asia Premiership
Champions: Dubai Tigers
Runners up: Bahrain

UAE Premiership
Champions: Jebel Ali Dragons
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes

UAE Division 1
Champions: Dubai Sharks
Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins II

UAE Division 2
Champions: Dubai Tigers III
Runners up: Dubai Sharks II

Dubai Sevens
Champions: Dubai Tigers
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes

Hili 2: Unesco World Heritage site

The site is part of the Hili archaeological park in Al Ain. Excavations there have proved the existence of the earliest known agricultural communities in modern-day UAE. Some date to the Bronze Age but Hili 2 is an Iron Age site. The Iron Age witnessed the development of the falaj, a network of channels that funnelled water from natural springs in the area. Wells allowed settlements to be established, but falaj meant they could grow and thrive. Unesco, the UN's cultural body, awarded Al Ain's sites - including Hili 2 - world heritage status in 2011. Now the most recent dig at the site has revealed even more about the skilled people that lived and worked there.

MATHC INFO

England 19 (Try: Tuilagi; Cons: Farrell; Pens: Ford (4)

New Zealand 7 (Try: Savea; Con: Mo'unga)

'Young girls thinking of big ideas'

Words come easy for aspiring writer Afra Al Muhairb. The business side of books, on the other hand, is entirely foreign to the 16-year-old Emirati. So, she followed her father’s advice and enroled in the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s summer entrepreneurship course at Abu Dhabi University hoping to pick up a few new skills.

“Most of us have this dream of opening a business,” said Afra, referring to her peers are “young girls thinking of big ideas.”

In the three-week class, pupils are challenged to come up with a business and develop an operational and marketing plan to support their idea. But, the learning goes far beyond sales and branding, said teacher Sonia Elhaj.

“It’s not only about starting up a business, it’s all the meta skills that goes with it -- building self confidence, communication,” said Ms Elhaj. “It’s a way to coach them and to harness ideas and to allow them to be creative. They are really hungry to do this and be heard. They are so happy to be actually doing something, to be engaged in creating something new, not only sitting and listening and getting new information and new knowledge. Now they are applying that knowledge.”

Afra’s team decided to focus their business idea on a restaurant modelled after the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Each level would have a different international cuisine and all the meat would be halal. The pupils thought of this after discussing a common problem they face when travelling abroad.

“Sometimes we find the struggle of finding halal food, so we just eat fish and cheese, so it’s hard for us to spend 20 days with fish and cheese,” said Afra. “So we made this tower so every person who comes – from Africa, from America – they will find the right food to eat.”

rpennington@thenational.ae

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5


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