Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) has signed a deal to pursue business opportunities with Banco Santander, the euro zone's largest bank.
Areas of potential tie-ups within financial services in the region and other emerging markets will be explored under the partnership.
"We are confident that the signing ... marks a first step in a mutually beneficial relationship between our organisations to share experiences and explore opportunities," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee and a member of the board of directors of ICD.
One of Dubai's three main state holding companies, ICD has stakes in some of the biggest names in the emirate's business empire including Emirates Airline, Emirates NBD and Emaar Properties.
Headquartered in Spain, Banco Santander operates in 10 core markets in Europe, Latin America and the United States.
The bank has been hit by the recession plaguing Spain and the wider euro zone.
Net profits fell by more than half in the first six months of the year after it was forced to set aside more provisions to cover shaky property loans in its domestic market.
But Banco Santander has been less badly affected by the crisis than other Spanish lenders due to its strong presence in emerging markets.
Latin America makes up half of its profits.
A joint task force will be established by the bank and ICD to investigate possible business openings in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia Pacific.
"We look forward to exploring opportunities to work with ICD in the region and beyond," said Emilio Botin, the chairman of Banco Santander.
iPad users can read the digital edition of business section as it was printed via our e-reader app.†Click here