Abu Dhabi's $180 Billion Lender to be Named First Abu Dhabi Bank

  • Shares rise 1.5 percent in first trading day after merger
  • Bank will be biggest in the U.A.E. and second-ranked in GCC

First Gulf Bank PJSC and National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC completed a merger to create the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank with assets of $180 billion, with the new entity to be called First Abu Dhabi Bank.

The lender began trading on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange on Sunday under the ticker NBAD, with shares up 1.5 percent to 10.40 dirhams at 12:15 p.m. Nearly 2 million shares had changed hands by then, according to Bloomberg data.

“This is a transformational moment for Abu Dhabi, the region and beyond," Abdulhamid Saeed, group chief executive officer of the new combined bank, said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday. The new bank’s key priorities have been established in line with the vision and growth ambitions of Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E., it said.

Abu Dhabi, holder of about six percent of the world’s oil reserves, combined its two largest banks to better compete with rivals and bolster its ability to lend and secure funding as the emirate grapples with low oil prices. The merger may lead to further consolidation in the United Arab Emirates’ financial services industry where about 50 lenders compete in a market of about 9 million people, according to analysts.

Apart from André Sayegh, deputy CEO and acting group head of corporate and investment banking, senior management at the new bank includes Hana Al Rostamani, group head of personal banking, Karim Karoui, group head of subsidiaries, strategy and transformation and James Burdett as group chief financial officer. Khalaf Al Dhaheri will be group chief operating officer and Shirish Bhide the group chief credit officer.

FGB and NBAD were Abu Dhabi’s two biggest banks by market value before the merger, which was originally announced in July. The new bank will be the second-biggest in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council after Qatar National Bank SAQ with a presence across 19 countries. It has a market value of 113 billion dirhams ($31 billion).

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