NCB and Samba complete merger deal to create Saudi Arabia's biggest lender

Saudi National Bank will have $239bn in assets and a 30% market share

 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia -- July 19, 2009 -- A National Commercial Bank (NCB) branch. Michael Bou-Nacklie for The National
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The merger of Saudi Arabia’s biggest retail lender National Commercial Bank and smaller rival Samba Financial Group is now complete.

Samba shareholders have received shares in the merged entity, Saudi National Bank, which formally began operations last Thursday.

The new lender said in a regulatory filing that shares issued to former Samba shareholders were now listed on the Saudi stock exchange.

NCB and Samba shareholders backed the merger last month after the Saudi Central Bank, the General Authority for Competition, the Capital Markets Authority and the stock exchange approved the deal.

The two lenders agreed in October to combine their balance sheets to create the kingdom's biggest bank with an asset base of 896 billion riyals ($239bn).

NCB received approval from the CMA to raise its capital from 30bn riyals to 44.78bn riyals, allowing it to issue new shares to Samba shareholders.

The share swap ratio was set at 0.739 NCB ordinary shares for each Samba ordinary share.

Saudi National Bank, which will have its head office in Saudi capital Riyadh, will have a market share of 30 per cent.

It said in March that it would benefit from increased scale, “the sharing of best practice and an unprecedented depth of employee talent”.

On Sunday, SNB announced the appointment of Ammar Al Khudairy as board chairman, replacing Saeed Alghamdi, who oversaw the merger.

It also appointed Yazeed Al Humied as vice chairman in place of Rashid Sharif.

With the finalisation of the merger, the Public Investment Fund, the kingdom's sovereign investment arm, has become the biggest shareholder in the new lender with a 37.2 per cent stake.

The Public Pension Agency controls 7.4 per cent and the General Organisation for Social Insurance owns 5.8 per cent.