National Bank of Abu Dhabi to Boost Latin America Lending

National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, the emirate’s biggest lender, plans to expand corporate loans in Latin America by about 20 percent this year.

NBAD will boost lending and offer other types of products to Latin American companies that do business in countries the bank considers a priority, including those in the Far East, Middle East and Africa, Angela Martins, the bank’s chief representative in Brazil, said in an interview in Sao Paulo.

Loans linked to Latin America should rise to more than $720 million by the end of this year, Martins said last week. NBAD’s businesses include hedging, providing exchange-rate transactions for currencies with low trading volume and distributing Latin American loans and bonds in the Middle East, with a focus on Brazil, Chile and Peru.

“Since we did many deals with banks in 2013, this year we plan to focus more on companies,” Martins said.

Examples of companies that meet the bank’s criteria include Rio de Janeiro-based Vale SA, the world’s largest iron-ore producer, and Sao Paulo-based JBS SA, the biggest beef producer, according to Martins. She also cited BRF SA, the poultry exporter with headquarters in Sao Paulo.

Abu Dhabi’s largest banks are expanding overseas to reduce their dependence on local real estate markets and to access trade flows across the Middle East, Africa and Asia that NBAD has said might generate as much as $137 billion in corporate-banking deals and advisory assignments for the industry.

Singapore, Paris

NBAD also plans hubs in cities including Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Paris and Washington, Chief Executive Officer Alex Thursby said in October.

The bank has about $600 million in loans outstanding in Brazil after opening a representative office in Sao Paulo last year, according to Martins. In June, it loaned $100 million to Itau Unibanco Holding SA, Latin America’s largest bank by market value, as part of a syndicate that provided the Sao Paulo-based company a three-year, $1.23 billion term loan and a four-year, $270 million loan.

NBAD also participated in the $210 million loan to Banco Santander Brasil SA signed Dec. 20.

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