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Lehman given licence to operate in Qatar

Lehman Brothers has been granted permission to operate in Qatar, as the US investment bank continues to expand its operations in the Middle East.

The US banking giant has been granted a licence from the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority that will enable it to offer clients capital markets and investment banking services.

News of Lehman's activity in the Middle East markets follows its decision to move to Dubai last year and a further announcement that it is seeking more investment opportunities in the territory.

Last month, Lehman, which is thought to be the fourth-largest investment house in the US, reported that its first-quarter profits were up 5.6 per cent to $1.13 billion, up from $1.07 billion for the same period the year before.

It had been expected that bad debts in the US subprime mortgage market would impair Lehman's performance, but a strong revenues from stock trading helped to offset the losses.