Shareholders approve merger of NCB and Samba banks

The new entity named Saudi National Bank will begin operations on April 1

 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia -- July 19, 2009 -- A National Commercial Bank (NCB) branch. Michael Bou-Nacklie for The National
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National Commercial Bank and Samba Financial Group shareholders approved a merger to create Saudi Arabia’s largest lender, with assets worth 896 billion riyals ($239bn).

The new entity will be named Saudi National Bank and its operations will begin on April 1, the two lenders said yesterday. Its headquarters will be in Riyadh.

Shareholders of both banks voted in favour of the merger at an extraordinary general meeting on Monday after receiving regulatory approvals from the Saudi Central Bank, the General Authority for Competition, the Capital Markets Authority and Tadawul.

“The merger will create a pre-eminent financial institution with significant value-creation potential for shareholders, customers and employees, [which is] structured to finance economic development, support Vision 2030 and facilitate trade and capital flows with the region and the rest of the world,” said NCB and Samba.

The two lenders agreed in October to a merger that would create the biggest bank in the kingdom, the Arab world’s largest economy.

Saudi National Bank will have a market share of 30 per cent and “benefit from increased scale, the sharing of best practice and unprecedented depth of employee talent”.

Ammar Alkhudairy will be the new chairman of Saudi National Bank while Saeed Al Ghamdi will take over as managing director and group chief executive.

In preparation for the merger, 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 will unlock significant opportunities as a larger and exceptionally well-capitalised bank,” said Mr Alkhudairy.

The biggest shareholders in the new lender will be the Public Investment Fund with a 37.2 per cent stake, the Public Pension Agency with 7.4 per cent and the General Organisation for Social Insurance with 5.8 per cent.