HONG KONG // The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the largest bank in the UAE by market value, will continue to invest in Dubai and elsewhere, but with "care and selectivity" as it embarks on a rapid expansion across Asia, its chief executive says. Michael Tomalin was speaking yesterday in Hong Kong, where he announced NBAD's plans to expand in six Asian countries including China, India and Malaysia.
It is the only bank in the UAE to declare its exposure to Dubai World and its subsidiaries, pointing to a liability of US$345 million (Dh1.26 billion). Investor concerns about its exposure to Dubai caused NBAD's stock to drop this week. Mr Tomalin pointed out that NBAD's exposure was small when compared to its $51bn in assets. "Yes, we will lend to clients in Dubai, in New York, in London, and Hong Kong, but with care and selectivity," he said.
The bank had said it had general corporate loans of more than $200m to the Dubai World property developers Nakheel and Limitless, and had invested $114m in Nakheel's $3.5bn sukuk. Dubai took investors by surprise last week when it said it would ask creditors of Dubai World to delay payment of billions of dollars in debt. It has since begun talks with creditors to restructure loans of about $26bn. NBAD's share price, which had nearly doubled since the start of the year up to the middle of September, tumbled 19 per cent after news of Dubai's debt exposure.