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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

FGB and National Bank of Abu Dhabi choose merged name: First Abu Dhabi Bank

The change of name came as a surprise to observers, with the newly merged entity having been widely expected to retain the NBAD brand.
The executives at First Abu Dhabi Bank ring the bell at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange to start the newly merged bank’s first day of trading. The bank, which was formed from the merger of NBAD and FGB, uses the ticker symbol NBAD. Courtesy First Abu Dhabi Bank
The executives at First Abu Dhabi Bank ring the bell at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange to start the newly merged bank’s first day of trading. The bank, which was formed from the merger of NBAD and FGB, uses the ticker symbol NBAD. Courtesy First Abu Dhabi Bank

FGB and NBAD have combined to become First Abu Dhabi Bank, following the official completion of their long-awaited merger.

The listing of the newly merged shares, together with the announcement of the new brand, brings to completion a process that began with the confirmation of talks between the two Abu Dhabi banks in June last year.

First Abu Dhabi Bank will have assets in excess of Dh670 billion, making it the UAE’s largest bank and the second-largest in the Middle East by assets, behind Qatar’s QNB at US$198bn.

“As the bourse opens today, we celebrate the listing of the UAE’s biggest bank and one of the world’s largest financial institutions,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, in a post on Sunday on Twitter.

“This major step will help us continue our journey towards sustainable development and boost our thriving economy.”

Shares in First Abu Dhabi Bank, listed under the NBAD ticker, were traded on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange for the first time on Sunday, ending the day up by 1.5 per cent at Dh10.40. Under the terms of the merger, FGB shareholders received 1.254 NBAD shares for each FGB share held. FGB shares have subsequently been delisted.

“We are now officially embarking on a new era, building on the respective legacies that each of the two banks have developed over the years and working towards creating new milestones for the UAE and beyond,” said Abdulhamid Saeed, First Abu Dhabi Bank’s group chief executive.

“Our exceptionally strong consumer franchise has the scale and expertise to establish First Abu Dhabi Bank as the dominant banking player in the UAE,” he said.

The change of name came as a surprise to observers, with the newly merged entity having been widely expected to retain the NBAD brand.

A senior official said that before the announcement only a few executives knew of the decision to rebrand the bank.

The decision to retain elements of the FGB brand in the new name reflects the make-up of the new bank’s senior management team, with the chief executive and his deputy, André Sayegh, coming from FGB.

Seven of the 12 senior management executives of the newly merged bank come from the FGB side of the business, with only four from NBAD. P K Medappa, the bank’s new group chief people officer, joins from Standard Chartered.

The name change is expected to be approved at a general assembly meeting, the bank said. No date has been given for the meeting.

The boards of FGB and NBAD recommended a merger of the two banks – the largest in Abu Dhabi by market capitalisation – in July last year, with shareholders providing their approval in December.

The announcement of merger talks between the two institutions was followed closely by a government decree ordering the merger of government investment vehicles Mubadala Development and International Petroleum Investment Company as part of consolidation efforts in the wake of lower oil revenue.

jeverington@thenational.ae

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