National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the UAE largest bank by assets, plans to set up eight global hubs and build five “international bank franchises” as part of its overseas expansion strategy.
The state-controlled lender will focus on Washington, D.C., London, Paris, Lagos, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Singapore and Hong Kong, and serve clients in five key industries.
NBAD plans to tap trade and investment flows across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, according to group CEO Alex Thursby, who joined in July from the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group.
On the 29th October, NBAD reported Oct. 29 an eight percent drop in its third-quarter profits to $282 million, missing analyst estimates, as one-time gains weren’t repeated.
In response to these figures, the lender is planning to re-focus on financial institutions, energy and resources, transport, real estate, family conglomerates, and trade and retailers.
Lending to other industries will be stopped, however, and one country to suffer from is South Sudan, where in contrast the bank is putting an application to open a branch on hold.
Lending this year will grow by 10 to 15%, with a 15% medium-term return on equity target.
Another UAE institution making tentative steps toward the African finance market is the National Bank of Fujairah, which has suggested it may open trade finance offices in Africa.
Though lacking the economic clout of the larger emirates, Fujairah and its port on the Gulf of Oman, is prospering on several levels as a trading channel between the other emirates and the rest of the world.
NBF recently opened a company in Hong Kong to facilitate letters of credit into the Far East, and would look at opening similar offices in Africa, noted CEO Vince Cook, who added: “We would like to increase our coverage of what they call the south-south channel of trade.”