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Tue 8 Oct 2013 06:36 PM

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Abu Dhabi banking major plans push into Asia

National Bank of Abu Dhabi set to expand its debt capital markets business, says senior exec

Abu Dhabi banking major plans push into Asia

National Bank of Abu Dhabi plans to expand its debt capital markets (DCM) business into Asia to help companies secure funding from the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), a senior bank official said on Tuesday.

NBAD, the largest lender by market capitalisation in the United Arab Emirates and the most active in debt markets, will hire staff to drive the Asia business and be based in Singapore, which will be the bank's wholesale banking hub for the region.

"We have a large number of clients in Asia who are looking for liquidity from the MENA region and we have access to investors in MENA," Mark Yassin, senior general manager, global banking told Reuters at a conference in Abu Dhabi.

The lender is positioning itself to be a global bank by building international franchises and hubs in some of the fastest growing economies under its new group CEO Alex Thursby.

NBAD expects to complete at least five more deals in arranging bond issuances for companies before the year end. So far this year, the bank had mandates on 16 bond deals.

"We did 20 deals last year and expect to finish the year at the same level despite a difficult market," said Yassin.

The bank arranged 20 debt issuances worth around $16.3 billion in 2012, the highest among all regional banks, he said.

The deals this year would have surpassed those last year but bond market spreads widened dramatically, pushing issuers to put off plans, he said, adding many borrowers tapped loan markets because of better margins and massive liquidity in banks.

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