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International Bank of Qatar (IBQ) announced the sale of its Al Yusr Islamic banking retail operations to Barwa Bank. This move brings IBQ in compliance with the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) issued instructions on January 31, 2011 for all commercial banks in the country to cease their Islamic operations by December 31, 2011.

An agreement was signed by Mr. George Nasra, MD of IBQ and Mr. Steve Troop, CEO of Barwa Bank and the transaction has received the approval of the QCB and the Shariah Boards of both banks.

Under the terms of the agreement, the sale includes the Al Yusr retail loans and deposit account portfolios, the two Al Yusr branches located at Al Sadd and Al Rayyan including ATMs and the transfer of Al Yusr employees to Barwa Bank. The private and corporate banking portfolios, however, are not part of this deal.

"While the ruling from the QCB necessitated the sale, we feel Barwa Bank will be able to offer our retail customers the best Islamic banking services in the market," said Mr. Nasra.

"Under the terms of the agreement, Barwa Bank will take on existing Al Yusr employees, which we value a great deal and which can continue to provide an excellent service to Al Yusr customers making the transition as seamless as possible to our valued customers," he added.

"We welcome Al Yusr into Barwa Bank through this transaction. From the strength of its portfolio to the employees currently involved with its operation, we believe this transaction will both strengthen Barwa Bank and allow us to serve even greater numbers of customers seeking the best Islamic banking products in Qatar," said Mr. Troop.

Goldman Sachs International and Linklaters LLP advised IBQ on this transaction. The First Investor Q.S.C.C. and Eversheds LLP advised Barwa Bank

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