First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE’s biggest bank by assets, got a licence from the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority to establish a commercial banking business as foreign banks converge on the kingdom to make deals amid reforms.
“We are very proud to announce this approval to extend our corporate and personal banking franchises to Saudi Arabia, which is an important milestone for FAB and a key element of our evolving international strategy,” said Sheikh Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of FAB.
“In light of the recent securities license approval secured earlier this year, FAB is moving forward with the next phase of our growth plan for the KSA market. By providing new opportunities for customers in the region to grow stronger, this new addition to the banking landscape will be another catalyst for the continued advancement of the KSA economic agenda and will further reinforce the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s solid relationship.”
The license allows FAB, through its subsidiary FAB Investment KSA, to operate three branches in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia, which has embarked on an ambitious agenda to reduce its dependence on hydrocarbon revenues, has garnered significant attention from international banks. A particular draw is the upcoming sale of shares in Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, whose value is estimated at between $1.5 to $2 trillion.
The anticipated IPO of a 5 per cent stake in Aramco could raise up to $100bn, making it the world’s largest share sale to date.