First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank deny merger talks

First Abu Dhabi Bank’s head office at Khalifa Business Park in Abu Dhabi. (Reuters)
Updated 04 April 2019
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First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank deny merger talks

  • Bloomberg reported that Abu Dhabi was considering merging the two lenders to create the Gulf region’s largest bank
  • With around 50 banks, the crowded UAE banking sector has been squeezed by decreased government spending and lower profit margins

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) denied on Thursday they were in merger talks after a news report said the emirate was considering combining them.

Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Abu Dhabi was considering merging the two lenders to create the Gulf region’s largest lender. First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest lender in the United Arab Emirates, in a bourse filing said it “strongly denies the report issued by Bloomberg on the potential merger.”

“FAB currently has not entered discussions with ADIB to pursue any merger activity,” it said.

ADIB, in a separate bourse filing, said the news report was not correct and that the bank is “currently not studying for any merger or acquisition.”

There has been speculation in recent months of more possible banking tie-ups in light of the wave of consolidation sweeping Abu Dhabi.

With around 50 banks, the crowded UAE banking sector has been squeezed by decreased government spending and lower profit margins.

Abu Dhabi’s two largest banks, First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi merged in 2017 to form First Abu Dhabi Bank while another three-way merger of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank is currently underway. Two of Abu Dhabi’s largest investment funds, Mubadala and International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) were also merged.


Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

Updated 26 min 17 sec ago
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Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

  • It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level
  • Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage

NICOSIA: Egypt has signed a deal with a Cypriot firm to lay a 310-kilometer (195-mile) cable under the Mediterranean to export electricity to Europe, the company said on Thursday.
Nicosia-based EuroAfrica described the deal, worth an estimated two billion euros, as a “landmark.”
“Cyprus now becomes a major hub for the transmission of electricity from Africa to Europe,” said company chairman Ioannis Kasoulides.
It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level.
Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage.
“The national electricity grid of Egypt will be linked to the European electricity system through Cyprus and will contribute to energy security,” Kasoulides said.
Following the crises in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the EU has been keen to develop alternative sources of energy to reduce its dependence on imports from Russia.
In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major new fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, and output is already sufficient to meet domestic needs.
The Arab world’s most populous country is now seeking to develop the infrastructure to export its newfound energy wealth, both as liquefied natural gas and as electricity.
Egypt is also seeking to import gas from fields off Cyprus and Israel to boost the profitability of the new liquefaction and export facilities it is developing on its Mediterranean coast.
In September, Egypt signed a deal with Cyprus to build an undersea pipeline to pump Cypriot offshore gas to Egypt for processing for export to Europe.
The plans have led to closer eastern Mediterranean ties, with Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Israel holding regular high-level meetings.