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Sun 22 Jul 2007 01:44 PM

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ADCB rules out immediate NBAD merger

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank says it sees no merger with National Bank of Abu Dhabi for at least two years.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the third largest United Arab Emirates lender by market value, ruled out a merger with rival National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) for at least two years.

The bank was prepared for a merger proposal, but was not under pressure from the Abu Dhabi government to tie up with National Bank after two Dubai lenders agreed to create the Gulf's largest bank by assets, Chief Executive Eirvin Knox said.

Shares of Abu Dhabi Commercial and National Bank have been rallying on speculation they were planning a merger.

"I don't think either of us needs to do it. We are in different businesses, serve different clients...," Knox told Reuters in an interview.

"There's no pressure that requires us to merge and it is not high priority for policy makers and I don't think it will happen in the next two to three years," he added.

"Meanwhile, if there is a proposal for a merger we are prepared for that," he said.

Abu Dhabi Commercial is on the lookout for foreign acquisitions after it lost its bid to buy into an Egyptian bank last year.

"We are still interested in potential acquisitions outside of Abu Dhabi. We are looking at some markets in the Gulf, Turkey and south-east Asia," Knox said without elaborating.

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