US-listed Brookfield to buy 60% of First Abu Dhabi Bank’s payment subsidiary

Proceeds from the sale will be used to support the Abu Dhabi lender's growth plans


First Abu Dhabi Bank in Um Suqeim

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

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First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s largest lender by assets, has signed an agreement to sell a 60 per cent stake in its payments business Magnati to New York-listed Brookfield Business Partners, valuing the company at up to $1.15 billion.

The transaction comes after Magnati was carved out into a fully-owned subsidiary in April last year. FAB will retain a 40 per cent stake in Magnati and continue its partnership with the company through a long-term relationship agreement, the lender said in a statement on Monday to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.

“FAB’s expertise and relationships, coupled with Brookfield’s regional and global presence, will provide a platform for Magnati to attract new regional and global partners while setting a new standard for innovation and delivery in the payments industry,” the bank said.

Demand for digital payments has soared after the coronavirus pandemic as more people use online banking services to transfer money and pay for e-commerce transactions.

Globally, digital payments are expected to grow to $8.26 trillion by 2024, from $4.4tn in 2020, according to Statista.

Listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges, Brookfield Business Partners is a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management which has $690bn of assets under management globally.

“This announcement marks an important milestone and is the result of long-term planning to seek strategic partnerships to drive growth within the payments sector,” Hana Al Rostamani, group chief executive of FAB said. “Our partnership agreement with Brookfield will accelerate Magnati’s journey in a fast-paced and dynamic industry, creating broader value for all stakeholders.”

The transaction is subject to final regulatory clearance from the Central Bank of the UAE. Proceeds from the sale will be used to support FAB’s growth and transformation plans, the lender said.

“The payments industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, creating new opportunities for agile, pioneering payment platforms,” said Jad Ellawn, managing director at Brookfield. “Magnati is well placed to benefit from this shift.”

Magnati will tap into the largest payment trends in the region, including the rise of e-commerce and digital transformation, the bank said.

FAB reported a 19 per cent jump in its 2021 profit on the back of higher net fee and commission income and gains on investments.

Updated: February 28, 2022, 8:55 AM