30 most admired companies in the GCC 2019

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Emirates NBD

Emirates NBD

The UAE’s second largest lender, Emirates NBD, has found success across MENA and beyond, operating branches in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and India. The bank reported 15 percent rise in profits in 2017 at $2.27bn, compared to 2016. It also posted a 15 percent increase in Q3 profit in 2018 due to higher interest income.

In January 2019, it reported a better-than-expected increase in full-year profit as lending rose and loan loss charges fell at Dubai’s biggest bank. It saw net profit of $2.73 billion supported by a 22 percent year-on-year improvement in provisions. The bank ended the year with assets of $136bn, up 6 percent on 2017. The state-controlled lender recommended a dividend of 40 fils a share, unchanged from a year ago.

Headed by CEO Shayne Nelson, it continues to be Dubai government’s bank of choice, financing infrastructure projects ahead of Expo2020. It is also a leading player in digital banking, announcing plans to invest about $300m into digital technology over the next three years. It is famous for its artificial intelligence (AI) powered humanoid robot Pepper, which speaks Arabic and English and helps with customer service inquiries. Nelson himself has almost four decades of industry experience, having held a string of high-profile positions including as CEO of Standard Chartered Private Bank in Singapore before joining Emirates NBD in 2013.

The bank also launched a new VAT-based loan solution for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers in 2018. The new programme eases the lending application process for SMEs as it allows them to validate their business turnover and income by providing the bank with copies of their VAT returns filed with the UAE’s Federal Tax Authority (FTA).