Abu Dhabi considers bank mergers

16 November 2016

Conventional and Islamic bank merger deals are on the cards once FGB and NBAD combination is finished

Abu Dhabi is considering the option of merging more banks after it combined National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB) to create the biggest bank by assets in the region.

The emirate is considering plans to combine Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Union National Bank (UNB) and also merge Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) with Al-Hilal Bank, according to news agency Bloomberg, which cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Further consolidation in the Abu Dhabi’s banking sector will take place, once the emirate has completed NBAD-FGB deal by March 2017. A final decision has yet to be taken on more mergers and the emirate may not pursue them, according to the news report.

Abu Dhabi earlier this year announced the merger of two of its largest banks with $175bn worth of combined assets. The deal is the first major move toward consolidation in many years in a market where about 50 lenders compete for business. In July, the boards of the two banks voted to merge the two financial giants and recommend the deal to respective shareholders.

Two of Abu Dhabi’s largest sovereign investment funds International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and Mubadala Development Company are also in the process of merging.

Abu Dhabi Investment Council, the government-controlled sovereign wealth fund, owns a 58 per cent stake in ADCB and 50 per cent of UNB. It also holds a 7.6 per cent stake in ADIB and a holding in Al-Hilal. UNB, ADCB and ADIB declined to comment, while no one was immediately available to comment Al-Hilal and ADIC, according to the news report.

The case for a merger between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Union National Bank became stronger after recent combinations in the U.A.E., investment bank Arqaam Capital said in a research report last month. ADCB which has a market value of about $8.6bn has $69bn in assets, while UNB with a market value of $2.9bn has $29bn in assets.

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