Abu Dhabi's FGB opens new office in Seoul amid overseas expansion

UAE's second-largest lender expands presence in Asia Pacific with new representative office in South Korea

First Gulf Bank (FGB), the second-largest lender by market value in the UAE, on Monday said it has set up a new representative office in South Korea as part of plans to expand its presence in Asia Pacific.

The bank, majority-owned by Abu Dhabi's ruling family, said the new office in Seoul will strengthen the bank's presence in the region, adding to its branch in Singapore and its representative office in Hong Kong.

"The Seoul office will work on supporting existing FGB clients' operations which also have a presence in Korea, in addition to providing services to Korean investors and companies that are active in the UAE, GCC and across Asia," the bank said in a statement.

Andre Sayegh, CEO of FGB, said: "Our new representative office in Seoul comes as a logical next step for our international expansion strategy.

"FGB's approach towards global expansion has always been very strategic and calculated, to ensure that it complements our local operations and the needs of our clients, and that it is in line with our overall vision and direction.

"Our recent rebrand signifies FGB's aspirations to position the bank for long-term success locally and globally, and we are taking active steps to achieve this ambition, by establishing the first UAE based bank in South Korea."

In April, FGB posted a 27 percent jump in first-quarter net profit. FGB made a net profit of AED1.33 billion ($362.1 million) in the three months to March 31, up from AED1.05 billion in the prior-year period.

Simon Penney, head of wholesale banking group, added: "The establishment of the new representative office is a significant step to boost our operations in the region. The office will be our main point of contact with Korean companies, allowing us to strengthen our relationships with the local market and to assist clients with their operations domestically and internationally.

"Initially the focus of operation will be on financing, treasury and trade support. FGB will also extend its services to its existing clientele base through the office by leveraging relationships and creating new business partnerships."

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