Gulf Banking Ripe For Takeover Spree

Born out of a $14.1bn merger, the establishment of First Abu Dhabi Bank in April has shaken up GCC banking competition. As banks across the region continue to grapple with significant liquidity issues due to the oil price slump, M&A activity is set to grow. But oil price moves will determine how many come to fruition.

Against a backdrop of austerity and government spending cuts, last month’s $14.1bn merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and First Gulf Bank (FGB) represents an exciting opportunity for growth in the Middle East.

It is also of historic significance. The merger of NBAD and FGB, respectively Abu Dhabi’s largest and third-largest lenders by assets, ranks as the largest domestic Middle Eastern M&A deal of all time.

The combined entity, known as First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), will have assets in excess of Dh670bn ($182bn) – one-quarter of the entire UAE banking sector.

This makes it comfortably the UAE’s largest bank by assets – the country’s second-largest lender Emirates NBD has total assets of Dh452bn – and the second-largest in the Middle East, after Qatar’s Qatar National Bank (QNB) with assets of Dh727bn. (CONTINUED - 1922 WORDS)


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