Despite reports in the media suggesting that Qatar might not be substantially affected by the unfolding crisis in Dubai, some Qatari banks and corporate entities do have exposure to Dubai, in particular, and the UAE as a whole.
The country’s largest lender, Qatar National Bank (QNB) acquired 23.8 percent stake in UAE-based Commercial Bank International for QR1.1bn.
In February that year (2008), the Commercial Bank of Qatar (Commercialbank) announced that it concluded a strategic alliance with United Arab Bank (UAB), having bought a fair stake in the UAB. It now holds 40 percent stake in the bank.
Doha Bank opened an office in Dubai a few years ago and later, inked a deal with a UAE-based bank to finance two tower projects. Alkhaliji earlier made an announcement about talks to buy the UAE assets of BLC Bank, France, and in August last year, it announced its participation in a $1.5bn syndicated Islamic financing facility for the Dubai Group.
Dubai Group is the diversified financial services arm under Dubai Holding. “The agreement is considered the largest-ever multi-currency syndicated commodity mudarbaha transaction in the UAE,” Alkhaliji said in a statement issued in August 2008. Doha-based Salam International made announcements recently that it was cancelling its secondary listing on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), Dubai’s stock exchange. The exposure of Qatar-based private companies and individual investors to Dubai, especially to its now-vulnerable real estate sector, remains unknown, say analysts.
Meanwhile, an analyst who on Sunday told a local Arabic daily that the Dubai bourse could plunge when it reopened, said the main worry for Qatar would be if foreign portfolio funds exit from the local bourse in the wake of the Dubai crisis.
“This is the main worry,” said Taha Abdul Ghani. He said that if world stock markets responded negatively to Dubai’s unfolding crisis, the Qatari bourse could plunge too when it reopens after Eid Al Adha holidays today.
Banker Qassim Mohamed Qassim told the Arabic daily on Sunday that the implications of Dubai’s crisis could be severe for the entire GCC region if they did not move quickly to tackle the issue.
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