First Gulf Bank completes acquisition of Dubai First

First Gulf Bank completes acquisition of Dubai First

Move in line with bank’s strategy of developing existing businesses

By Haseeb Haider

Published: Thu 7 Nov 2013, 10:42 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:35 AM

First Gulf Bank, or FGB, has completed its acquisition of Dubai First, a financial services firm sold by Dubai Financial Group. The move is in line with FGB’s expansion strategy of developing existing businesses and offering more value to an expanding UAE customer base.

Since its establishment in 2007, Dubai First has built a strong reputation and market share in the cards business by offering unique customer value. Hana Al Rostamani will lead the newly constituted board of directors as chairman of the company. Dubai Financial Group sold its consumer financial services unit Dubai First to First Gulf Bank, as part of its restructuring.

FGB paid Dh601 million for the acquisition of Dubai First. A leading customer finance company specialising in liability and credit card products, Dubai First has a 4.5 per cent market share. Wael Abu Mheisen, general manager at Al Ansari Securities in Abu Dhabi welcomed the deal, while Fadel Al-Ali, chief executive officer of Dubai Group, termed the sale “a strategic decision” for Dubai Group and a part of its stated plan to sell down assets in order to support broader ongoing restructuring process.

Dubai firm’s major assets include a stake in Oman’s Bank Muscat and interest in Malaysia’s Bank Islam. The aggregate gross assets of Dubai First amounted to approximately Dh700 million.

At the time of the announcement of the deal, Al Ali said Dubai First has performed well, even during the turbulent business cycles of recent years, and has built a solid and sustainable book of business. “I am confident that FGB will give Dubai First the right support platform to ensure it continues to grow and build its market share in the UAE,” he said. Dubai First operates out of its Dubai headquarters and has branches and sales offices in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, with has 464 employees. The acquisition complements FGB’s strategy of offering more value to an expanding UAE customer base. On the completion of the deal, Andre’ Sayegh, CEO of First Gulf Bank said: “Dubai First offers great synergy with the FGB business. It supports our customer centric strategy and will create an integrated platform for developing exciting, new products in the future.”

Hana Al Rostamani said that her company was committed to meeting “our consumers and stakeholders goals through our strong financial product offering.” She said: “We will ensure that Dubai First customers retain their overall experience in addition to the relationship and network benefits of FGB’s operation. They will continue to enjoy all the benefits of their Dubai First cards and can look forward to an improved and wider product choice in the future, both nationally and internationally.”

First Gulf Bank is one of the largest full service banks in the country with a portfolio in its consumer business alone of over Dh40 billion.

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