ADCB, UNB and Al Hilal Bank merger to create UAE’s third-largest lender

The merged banks will retain the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank identity. (Reuters)
Updated 29 January 2019
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ADCB, UNB and Al Hilal Bank merger to create UAE’s third-largest lender

  • ADCB and UNB informed the bourse last week that their respective boards would meet Tuesday to discuss updates on the potential merger
  • ADCB and UNB’s shares are traded in the Abu Dhabi bourse

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank on Tuesday have agreed on a three-way merger to create the third-largest bank in the UAE with assets worth $114.36 billion.
“The transaction, which has been recommended unanimously to shareholders by the boards of ADCB and UNB, is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals to be sought in the coming weeks,” a statement the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange said.
“The new banking group will carry the ADCB identity and will continue to benefit from strong institutional backing, through the Government of Abu Dhabi’s majority ownership. Al Hilal Bank will retain its existing name and brand and operate as a separate Islamic banking entity within the group.”
ADCB is the largest in the three-way tie-up, with the lender and UNB both majority owned by government investment fund Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC). The two banks’ shares are traded in the Abu Dhabi bourse. Al Hilal is wholly-owned by ADIC, which is now part of Mubadala Investment Company.
ADCB and UNB informed the bourse last week that their respective boards would meet Tuesday to discuss updates on the potential merger.
Under the transaction, ADCB will issue 0.5966 ADCB shares for every UNB share, which is equivalent to a total of 1,641,546,697 new shares issued to UNB shareholders. Upon effectivity of the merger, UNB shares would be delisted from the Abu Dhabi stock exchange.
Al Hilal meanwhile would be acquired by the combined banks for approximately $272.29 million with the issuance to ADIC of a mandatory convertible note for up to 117,647,058 post-merger ADCB shares after the completion of the statutory merger.
With the combined entity, the Abu Dhabi government will hold 60.2 percent interest, through ADIC, while other ADCB shareholders will own 28 percent while UNB shareholder will have 11.8 percent of the merged banks.
Eissa Mohamed Al-Suwaidi was named chairman of the new banking giant, while Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al-Hamli was appointed vice chairman.


Selling sketches and clothes, Libyan women set up businesses against the odds

Updated 37 min 17 sec ago
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Selling sketches and clothes, Libyan women set up businesses against the odds

  • Libya has only a tiny private sector and the economy is dominated by the state
  • Cumulative inflation over the last four years has seen real incomes lose more than half of their purchasing power

TRIPOLI: When inflation began eating into her state-paid salary Libyan architect and assistant professor Seham Saleh started selling drawings over the Internet to help pay the bills.
She joins a growing number of Libyan women launching start-ups in the conservative Arab country, where many still think a woman’s place is in the home but where the strains on personal and family income following years’ of political chaos have forced women to look for more work.
Libya has only a tiny private sector, which means there is a market for locally-produced goods. The economy is dominated by the state, which employs most adults under a structure set up by Muammar Qaddafi, who was toppled in 2011.
Men are the traditional breadwinners, although around 30 percent of women were in the labor force as of 2015, according to a UN report.
“I cannot live on my assistant professor salary of 1,000 dinars ($256) even if it is paid out,” said Saleh. She has been selling drawings of people in Libyan dress or book marks she created on a computer.
“Thank God... people wanted to buy the products,” she said. She also does freelance work as an architect.
Once one of the richest countries in the region, the chaos and civil war that ensued after the fall of Qaddafi has seen Libya’s living standards erode. Little is now produced in Libya other than oil, even milk is imported from Europe.
Cumulative inflation over the last four years has seen real incomes lose more than half of their purchasing power, and the government effectively devalued the dinar last September.
A cash crisis means public servants often do not get their salaries paid out in full. Lenders have no cash deposits as the rich prefer to hold their cash themselves, rather than deposit it in a bank.
Women rarely had jobs outside of sectors such as teaching, although the need for more family income has changed the situation, said Jasmin Khoja, head of a women’s business support venture.
Her organization, the Jusoor center for studies and development, has trained some 33 would-be female entrepreneurs, offers legal advice and office space as women often can’t afford their own.
While Seham’s “Naksha” art business is in its early stages, others such as Najwa Shoukri’s start-up are growing fast. She started designing clothes from home in 2016, and selling them online.
Now, together with five other women, she has a workshop selling 50 pieces a month and plans to open a shop next year on Jaraba Street, the main fashion shopping avenue in Tripoli.
To make the shop a success her output would have to rise to 150 pieces a month. Her brother and family have contributed to investments worth 10,000 dinars.
The biggest challenges for start-ups are legal hurdles and the lack of electronic payment systems.
Some Libyan commercial laws go back to the 1960s and are aimed at big corporations such as oil firms, not start-ups. Under these regulations firms need to deposit thousands of dinars.
“Banks do not give loans, which stops projects and makes them unable to grow or employ other women and young people,” Khoja said.
Undeterred, Mayaz Elahshmi started a business last week training women to fix computers and smartphones.
“There is big demand as many women are reluctant to go to a phone shop where men work, as they have personal files on their phones.”
Six people came to her first training session, each paying 30 dinars.