Commercial Bank shareholders have given approval for fresh debt issuances by the bank, which will renew and replace its debts maturing this year.
These include increasing the limit of an existing Global Commercial Paper and Certificates of Deposit (CP/CD) programme from $800mn up to $5bn; a new Global Medium Term Notes (GMTN) programme for up to $2bn; and the issuance of debt notes for up to $2bn under an existing $5bn Euro Medium Term Notes (EMTN) programme.
“The size of the issuances depends on market conditions. But we have approximately $2bn of maturities this year and we will renew and replace them with fresh issuances for other forms of debt as required by our business and the opportunities available. It is a procedural requirement to get shareholder approval, which we did at the general assembly tonight,” Commercial Bank Group CEO Joseph Abraham told Gulf Times last night.
He also indicated that Commercial Bank was unlikely to raise more than the $2bn of maturities the bank has this year.
During the extraordinary general assembly, shareholders approved the proposed amendments to the Bank’s Articles of Association related to a stock split in the 1:10 ratio.
Shareholders also approved a cash dividend payout of 15% of the share’s nominal value, which equates to QR1.5 per share held.
Meanwhile at the bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), Commercial Bank reaffirmed the successful execution of its five-year strategic plan to date and outlined the objectives for further improvements in its business performance.
In his opening remarks, Commercial Bank chairman Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali bin Jabor al-Thani said the “bank has a clear vision to reshape the business and achieve growth based on the five-year strategic plan initiated in 2016, and that the bank’s strong bottom line performance in 2018 is a direct result of actions taken under this plan.”
He said, “In 2018 Qatar returned to ‘business as usual’ on its transformation journey towards a sustainable, knowledge-based economy. The initial effects of the blockade imposed in 2017 are now fully behind us and the economy has not only maintained the status quo but emerged from a challenging position to become stronger and more diversified this year.
“Qatar has strong economic fundamentals, which are recognised by the major rating agencies and international investors. The Qatar Stock Exchange was the best performer in the region in 2018 and confidence in the future of Qatar’s economy was evident when Qatar raised a $12bn sovereign bond in April in the international financial markets that was heavily oversubscribed with orders exceeding $52bn.
“2018 has also been noteworthy for Qatar’s rapid progress in delivering self-sufficiency projects, especially in food products and manufacturing, with Qatar’s private sector and stable business environment that is supportive of foreign investments playing a major role in facilitating these projects.”
Sheikh Abdulla said, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for the visionary leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Under the leadership of His Highness, Qatar is well positioned to continue on its remarkable growth trajectory and Commercial Bank is fully aligned with, and contributes towards, Qatar’s national development objectives.
“I also want to take this opportunity to convey our appreciation for the guidance and support we have received from His Excellency the Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, His Excellency the Minister of Finance, His Excellency the Minister of Economy and Commerce and His Excellency the Governor of the Qatar Central Bank.”
Looking ahead, Sheikh Abdulla said, “We have a clear vision to improve the bank’s performance based on our five-year strategic plan initiated in 2016. This plan is working, with actions taken under our five-year strategic plan delivering good results and evident in the Bank’s strong bottom line performance in 2018.”
Presenting the bank’s strategy and five-year plan, Abraham outlined objectives for a further uplift in future business performance, including digital leadership through investment in end-to-end process automation, artificial intelligence and robotics; reshaping the branch network aligning to a changing customer footprint; and developing new products in wealth management, transaction banking and cash management.
Commercial Bank vice-chairman Hussain Ibrahim Alfardan and other directors were present at the AGM held at Commercial Bank Plaza.
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