Qatar banks Al Khaliji and Masraf Al Rayan begin merger talks

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatari lenders al Khaliji KCBK.QA and Masraf Al Rayan MARK.QA said on Tuesday they had started negotiating a potential merger that could create a combined entity with more than 164 billion riyals ($45.04 billion) in total assets.

The merger is subject to regulatory approval from authorities including the Qatar Central Bank, the Qatar Financial Markets Authority, and the Ministry of Commerce, and the approval of the two banks’ shareholders, the banks said in a filing.

Masraf Al Rayan, an Islamic lender, was previously in merger talks with Qatari lenders Barwa Bank and IBQ in 2016. The bank broke away from the talks, leading to a tie up between Barwa and IBQ in 2018.

“The potential merger will lead to the creation of one of the largest Sharia’a (Islamic) compliant banks in Qatar and the Middle East,” the banks said in a filing.

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Kirsten Donovan