UAE's First Gulf Bank ups foreign ownership limit

The UAE's second largest lender says it is raising limit to 25% from previous level of 15%
UAE's First Gulf Bank ups foreign ownership limit
UAE-based First Gulf Bank. (ITP Images)
By Andy Sambidge
Tue 21 Jun 2011 06:13 PM

First Gulf Bank , the UAE's second largest lender by market value, said on Tuesday it was raising its foreign share ownership limit to 25 percent.

The bank's board approved a proposal to raise the limit from the current 15 percent, it said in a statement.

Abdulhamid Saeed, managing director of the bank, said: "The decision to increase the limit of foreign ownership is a natural progression in light of our year on year growth.

"It is also based on the development and maturity of the UAE banking sector and the increased opportunities that the UAE market offers to foreign investors."

In 2008, the bank halved its foreign share ownership limit to 15 percent to curb speculation that led to a sharp decline in its stock price, the bank said at the time.

As of March 31 this year, the bank's earnings per share stood at 0.56 dirhams, total shareholders' equity was around 24 billion dirhams ($6.53 billion) and its capital adequacy ratio was 22.6 percent, one of the highest in the UAE banking sector, the statement said.

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