Damascus / Doha, 16 August 2009 – Qatar National Bank-Syria (QNB-Syria) announced the successful completion of the subscription phase of its IPO, which concluded on 10 August 2009, after a nearly month-long initial subscription period that commenced on 12 July 2009.
The public offering, which was open to Syrian private and institutional investors, was nearly 2.5-times oversubscribed. The IPO was in great demand among local investors, and saw the participation of various segments of Syrian society in what was one of the most significant recent opportunities in the country's equities market.
The IPO comes at a time when Syria is further opening up its financial system to foreign investors and reflects the growing appetite of Syrian investors to inject money in foreign entities. The imminent commencement of QNB-Syria's operations in Damascus is expected to further stimulate bilateral trade between the two states and is expected to play a key role in promoting Qatari investments in Syria.
QNB-Syria aimed to raise capital of SYP 1,700,000,000 through the IPO, representing 34% of the shares available to the public for subscription. The public offering eventually raised SYP 4,557,352,000 through the oversubscription of the 3,400,000 shares available, amounting to a total of 9,114,704 shares applied for.
QNB-Syria has total authorized capital of US$100 million with QNB retaining 49% of the equity, and Syrian government organizations and private investors together owning 17%. The remaining 34% shares were distributed among the subscribers of the public offering.
Four Syrian receiving banks were designated for the IPO – The Savings Bank, The Popular Credit Bank, The Real Estate Bank, and the International Bank for Trade and Finance – given the size of the offering and proving a successful exercise for the Syrian banking industry in what was the largest financial sector IPO in the country to date in 2009.
QNB-Syria will refund oversubscribed amounts following the founding shareholders meeting that will be held after the official allotment date, when the Bank will also elect its Board of Directors. This process will be undertaken, according to the policy approved by the Syrian Commission on Financial Markets and Securities. The refund of oversubscriptions will be announced via advertisements in the country's leading newspapers.
QNB-Syria has already made great strides in laying the foundations for the commencement of operations. The Bank will open its headquarters in Damascus on Baghdad Street, and is expected to start operations by November 2009. The Bank will have two branches by the end of the year including its headquarters in Damascus. QNB Syria has also outlined plans to progressively expand in the Syrian market, with 10 more branches planned for other provinces and major Syrian cities in the subsequent year.
QNB-Syria will offer a full range of sophisticated banking products and services for individuals, corporate institutions and government entities.