By James Bennett and Reuters
Dubai bourse halts trading in shares until banks are combined into Gulf's largest lender by assets.
The Dubai stock exchange on Monday suspended trading in shares of Emirates Bank International (EBI) and National Bank of Dubai (NBD) until they are combined into the Gulf's largest lender by assets.
Both banks announced the suspension on the stock exchange website, signalling that the largest merger in UAE history has entered its final stages.
Abdullah Mohamed Saleh, NBD Chairman, called the suspension of NBD shares one of the final "critical" stages of the merger process.
"We are eager to ensure that NBD shareholders can participate in the future of the combined bank, and encourage them to complete and return the form of acceptance that is included in the offer document distributed to shareholders in July, by 3pm Dubai time on Wednesday October 17, 2007," he said.
Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman of EBI, added: "The suspension of trading in EBI's shares represents another important and planned milestone in the process of our bank's merger with National Bank of Dubai, as has been previously communicated."
NBD and EBI shares are expected to be de-listed from the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) at the close of trading on October 15, while shares in Emirates NBD, the newly merged banking group, are expected to be listed on the DFM for the start of trading the following day.
"Shareholders who do not validly accept the offer should note that, following the suspension of trading in NBD shares, their liquidity and marketability is likely to be adversely affected," a joint statement read.
Each NBD share will be exchanged for 0.95 shares in Emirates NBD. Emirates Bank shareholders will get one share in the new lender for each share they own.
The Dubai government will own 56% of Emirates NBD.