UniCredit to open Abu Dhabi branch this year
UniCredit will open a branch in Abu Dhabi’s nascent financial district by the summer, Jean Pierre Mustier, the Italian lender’s chief executive, said.
UniCredit plans to provide financial services to businesses between the region and Europe and the wider Middle East from its base in Abu Dhabi Global Market on Al Maryah Island. It will not be catering to individual clients, he said.
The branch will initially start with a headcount of 20 and eventually expand to 50, he added.
“We have all the authorisations and will service corporate clients coming to the Middle East. It will be our base in the Middle East. We have a very important shareholder in Aabar and we want to make sure that we leverage on that,” Mr Mustier told The National.
The Abu Dhabi fund has a 5 per cent stake in the lender.
UniCredit is in the process of raising €13 billion (Dh50.81bn) from existing investors in a rights issue, and Mr Mustier has been travelling around the world to meet the bank’s investors over the past month.
The French banker said he was also counting on the region to help boost UniCredit’s growth.
“We have clients in Europe that are interested in doing business in Abu Dhabi and the Middle East, and we have clients here that want to go to Europe and Eastern Europe,” he said. “We will follow the trade flows and provide the financing mostly through trade finance, syndicated loans and project finance.”
Aabar, which has a diversified investment portfolio, is owned by the International Petroleum Investment Company. The fund took its original 4.99 per cent stake in UniCredit in 2010, when it was valued at about US$2.3bn.
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Updated: February 12, 2017 04:00 AM