An overbanked region sees some welcome consolidation

WHEN YOU have 60 banks in a country of just 9.5m people, there is much to be said for merging three at a time. On January 29th Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), the third-biggest bank by assets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), agreed to buy eighth-ranked Union National Bank in an all-share deal. The enlarged ADCB will then swallow Al Hilal Bank, a smaller, Islamic bank. All three are controlled by Abu Dhabi’s government, which will own 60.2% of the new entity.

The deal is the latest of several tie-ups, actual or mooted, among banks in the Gulf. On January 24th Kuwait Finance House, that country’s second-biggest bank, announced “tentative” agreement on takeover terms with Ahli United Bank, of Bahrain. Saudi British Bank and Alawwal Bank are joining forces to form Saudi Arabia’s third-largest lender. The kingdom’s number one, National Commercial Bank, is talking to Riyad Bank, the current number four. And in 2017...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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