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DIB, Noor Bank to have largest Islamic bank

Muzaffar Rizvi/Dubai
Filed on January 23, 2020

(Reuters)

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) on Thursday announced that it completed the acquisition of Noor Bank to become one of the largest Islamic banks in the world with total assets exceeding Dh275 billion.

In a statement, the Dubai-listed bank said it secured necessary approvals from the relevant regulatory authorities to complete the acquisition by increasing capital through the issuance of 651,159,198 new shares, which have been listed and admitted to trading on the Dubai Financial Market. The bank now has raised its share capital to 7,240,744,377 shares.

In line with the acquisition process, Noor Bank operations will be completely integrated into DIB. As the acquirer, DIB is fully committed to ensuring that the transition is seamless for customers of both the banks and that they continue to enjoy the best possible banking experience throughout the integration.

"The acquisition and the ensuing integration is expected to generate significant synergies ensuring robust profitability and returns for the shareholders in the coming years," a DIB statement said.

Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, chairman of DIB, said the acquisition of Noor Bank is a landmark achievement, establishing DIB as one of the largest Islamic banks in the world and amongst the largest banking entities in the UAE.

"In line with our strategy, the completion of this deal means that we remain ideally positioned to expand our footprint in the region and beyond, in addition to supporting the UAE's vision for growth and prosperity," Al Shaibani said.

The acquisition has made DIB the fourth largest bank in the UAE in terms of assets after First Abu Dhabi Bank, Emirates NBD and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB). It is the biggest banking merger since May 2019 when the ADCB, Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank merged their operations to create the third largest bank in the UAE with Dh423 billion assets. The ADCB consolidation came more than two years after the merger of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank to create the Dh671 billion First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Dr Adnan Chilwan, group CEO, DIB, said that this is a momentous occasion for the banking profession in the region.

"The UAE is recognised as the epicenter of the Islamic economy and the completion of this acquisition will undoubtedly strengthen Dubai's role as a global hub for Islamic finance, allowing greater investment and growth in key sectors such as infrastructure, innovation and services," he said.

Dubai Islamic Bank, which was established in 1975, is the largest Islamic bank in the UAE by assets and a public joint stock company listed on the Dubai Financial Market. It is also the world's first full service Islamic bank and the second largest Islamic bank in the world.

With group assets in excess of $75 billion and a market capitalisation of nearly $11 billion, the group operates with a workforce of more than 9,000 employees and around 500 branches in its vast global network across the Middle East, Asia and Africa to serve more than three million customers.

DIB shares climbed 1.56 per cent on Thursday with 7.16 million shares worth Dh44.39 million traded on the Dubai Financial Market, which fell 0.38 per cent to 2,837.99 points.

Acquisition cements Dubai's positionas a global centre for Islamic finance

Dubai Islamic Bank's acquisition of Noor Bank will reinforce Dubai's position as a global centre for Islamic finance and the combined entity will set up most powerful bank in the region, experts and analysts said.

They said GCC banking sector is undergoing major consolidation phase with at least 20 banks are negotiating mergers and acquisitions with an estimated $1 trillion worth of assets.

Jitendra Gianchandani, chairman, Jitendra Consulting Group, said this transaction will further boost Dubai's image as the hub of Islamic economy by creating the region's most advanced Shariah-banking conglomerate.
"In this slothful international and regional market, where everybody in the region is looking with the hope at Dubai Expo 2020, DIB's acquisition of Noor Bank is a very proactive and smart decision and it will benefit shareholders and customers," Gianchandani told Khaleej Times.
Apart from cost and operational efficiencies, he said this acquisition of Noor Bank by DIB, not only DIB will be promoted, but Dubai in particular and UAE, in general, will be benefited.
Rajeev Kakar, founder of Dunia Finance and former Citibank regional CEO for Turkey and the MEA, said merger will help attract better talent, enables operations with better unit economics by rationalising operating costs across branches, people and technology.
"It will help further strengthen customer confidence and satisfaction through their increased ability to provide superior service levels provided at lower cost by spreading their fixed costs over larger production volumes, and increases margins which allows for investing for greater customer value and to deliver strong stakeholder returns," Kakar told Khaleej Times.
Saad Maniar, senior partner at Crowe in DIFC, said DIB acquisition will empower the merged banks business to fill product and technology gaps.
"Acquisition will also scale bank more efficiently, not just in terms of efficiency ratio, but also in terms of the banking operations," he said.
"Both banks has an infrastructure in place for compliance, risk management, accounting, operations and IT - and now that two banks have become one, then merged bank will be able tomore efficiently consolidate and administer those operational infrastructures and provide value to customers," Maniar told Khaleej Times.

- muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com



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