Qatar infrastructure spend to boost Barwa Bank profit

Qatari lender Barwa Bank expects a sharp increase in its 2013 net profit, driven mainly by billions in infrastructure spending by the Gulf state and growth in its debt advisory and asset management business. The unlisted lender is awaiting regulators' approval a public floatation as part of two share sales planned to raise more than 2.05 billion riyals. It posted a profit of 345 million riyals ($94.75 million) for 2012, a 41 percent increase from the previous year. Moreover, Barwa Bank, through its fully-owned investment banking arm, The First Investor (TFI), plans to partner with local investors in Qatar to invest in the healthcare sector. The bank also manages a Shariah-compliant Gulf equities fund, with 113 million riyals in assets. The fund has returned 19 percent to investors since inception in late 2012.