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Two of Abu Dhabi’s three largest banks – National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB) – are to merge, following the green light from their boards of directors.
The merger, announced on 3 July, will create the Middle East’s largest bank with combined market capitalization of $29bn and total assets of $175bn. They had previously confirmed that discussions were underway last month.
Both have strong links to the Abu Dhabi government and ruling family. The Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) SWF owns 70% of NBAD. Its chairman Nasir Ahmad al-Suwaidi is a highly prominent figure who is also on the boards of Mubadala and IPIC, two SWF’s in the process of merging (see p10). Mubadala meanwhile is the largest shareholder of FGB, with 7%.
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