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Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 1 May 2019: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) today officially inaugurated its Saudi Arabia operations during a ceremony at its new Riyadh branch. The opening is a key milestone in FAB’s international expansion plans that will help to further strengthen commercial ties between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by H.E. Dr. Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), H.E. Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Board Executive Committee of FAB, H.E Jassim Mohammed Al Siddiqi, Chairman of the Board Audit Committee of FAB and Abdulhamid Saeed, Group Chief Executive Officer of FAB, along with other members of the bank’s leadership.

The new branch, located in Al Cayan Tower, Riyadh, joins FAB’s international network which spans five continents, enabling customers in Saudi Arabia to draw on the bank’s global relationships, expertise and financial strength to grow stronger. 

H.H. Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of First Abu Dhabi Bank, said: “It gives me great pleasure to open our first Saudi Arabian branch and make a further contribution towards the Kingdom’s growth story by financing businesses, providing financial services to individuals and investing in the digital economy. Our expansion into Saudi Arabia represents an important milestone in our international business strategy as well as a testament to the strong ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is of strategic importance to both FAB and the UAE, and it is for that reason we chose Saudi Arabia as the first destination in our international expansion plans since our merger. We look forward to growing our presence in the Kingdom and thank the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority and Capital Market Authority for their invaluable guidance and support throughout this auspicious journey.”

H.E. Dr. Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), said: “We are delighted to welcome First Abu Dhabi Bank to the Kingdom, which further builds on the strong relationship between the UAE and Saudi Arabia. As Vision 2030 continues to diversify the economy and creates new opportunities for companies and individuals alike, FAB is well placed to play an important role as a key financial services partner to the Kingdom.”

The opening of FAB’s first branch in Saudi Arabia continues a journey for the bank that began last year. Following the official approval in February 2018 from the Capital Market Authority (CMA) to commence investment banking activities in the Kingdom as FAB Capital, the Abu Dhabi-headquartered bank was granted a licence from SAMA one month later to establish a commercial banking business in the country. The licence allows FAB to operate three branches in Saudi Arabia, with the Riyadh opening planned to be followed by Jeddah and Al Khobar later this year. 

Since receiving the SAMA and CMA licenses in 2018, FAB has made steady progress in building a team and establishing its presence, with the Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) Group capping a successful year by completing a debut Sukuk transaction in Saudi Arabia through FAB Capital. Strong leadership teams have been formed for both entities, with Layth Al-Shaiban Country Chief Executive Officer of FAB’s commercial banking operations in Saudi Arabia, and Mona Al-Tawil leading the investment banking business in the Kingdom as Chief Executive Officer of FAB Capital.  

Through its presence in the Kingdom, FAB is well placed to be a key financial services partner to Saudi Arabia, especially given the strength of the UAE’s relationship with KSA and the complementary nature of the two countries’ economic development plans. With financial services being an engine of growth both for the UAE and wider region, FAB’s personal and corporate banking operations in the Kingdom will benefit individuals and businesses with interests in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and across the region.

 

 


Commenting on the results, His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of FAB, said:

“FAB’s financial results for 2018 round off a remarkable year of achievements for the bank. A further highlight was the successful completion of the bank’s IT systems integration in December, allowing us to finalise our UAE integration journey in less than two years. This is not just an unprecedented achievement locally and regionally, but also internationally, in light of the entailed complexity in bringing two large entities together under one single platform.”

In line with our commitment to maximise shareholder returns, the bank’s Board of Directors has recommended to distribute a cash dividend of 74 fils per share for the year ended 31 December 2018. This brings total cash dividends for the year to AED 8.0 Billion, a 6% increase compared to 2017, and a reflection of FAB’s continued strength.

His Highness added: “FAB’s second year of operations witnessed a number of major successes. During the year the bank secured the Capital Market Authority (CMA) and Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA) licenses for its KSA operations. During the fourth quarter, the bank also launched the Abu Dhabi Government's digital payment portal, developed in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Smart Solutions and Services Authority, and supporting a ‘smart’ cashless economy in line with the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and the Ghadan 2021 development program. ”


Abdulhamid Saeed, Group Chief Executive Officer of FAB, said:

“Building on the positive momentum generated last year, FAB achieved a solid performance during the first quarter of 2019 with a record net profit of AED 3.1 Billion, delivering a unified customer experience through our integrated platform and placing us firmly on track to execute our 2019 strategic agenda. Increasing our foreign ownership limit to 40%, which was approved by shareholders in February and implemented this month, was a notable milestone supporting higher liquidity on our shares and attracting further international investment.”

“Our performance during the first three months of 2019 has created a robust foundation for sustained growth momentum and we remain optimistic about the remainder of the year. Our successful integration and solid fundamentals have enabled us to improve our profitability, while continuing to prudently manage risk across our portfolios. As we move into the second quarter, the bank will continue to leverage its competitive advantages, while further developing our retail offering and strengthening our market-leading position in corporate and investment banking.”

He added: “As the UAE’s largest bank, we are committed to aligning with key government priorities and to supporting local communities to grow stronger, which is exemplified by our involvement in initiatives like the Ghadan 2021 development plan and the Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority programme for low-income Emirati families. Through working with private and public sector organisations, FAB will continue to solidify its status as an engine of growth for the UAE and the region, while continuing to focus on meeting our medium term aspirations.”