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First Gulf Bank plans new hires for investment banking business

First Gulf Bank is planning new hires for its investment banking business and is seeking to double the share of profit from its international unit in five years.

First Gulf Bank, the United Arab Emirates' third-biggest bank, said it is planning new hires for its investment banking business and is seeking to double the share of profit from its international unit in five years.

The Abu Dhabi-based lender, which has two mandates to arrange initial public offerings for local companies, will hire bankers in mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity capital markets, chief executive Andre Sayegh said. The lender also plans new offices in South Korea, China and Indonesia over the next 18 months as it seeks to raise the contribution of international business to profit to the "teens or more" from 5 per cent last year, he said.

First Gulf Bank in March hired Simon Penney, Royal Bank of Scotland Group chief executive for the Middle East and Africa, as head of its wholesale banking business to boost growth. The lender is among several Abu Dhabi banks expanding overseas as a local population of 8.3 million restricts growth at home and local companies expand their trade and investments abroad.

First Gulf Bank aims to "provide more value" to companies through its investment banking services such as helping them access capital markets, risk-hedging and Islamic banking, Mr Sayegh said. "I expect more listings to happen probably starting next year and to be even encouraged by the government."

 

* Bloomberg News

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