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|25 February, 2018

First Abu Dhabi Bank eyes entering Saudi market in 2018

The bank has applied for a commercial banking licence in the kingdom.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Clouds move over the Riyadh skyline.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Clouds move over the Riyadh skyline.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

ABU DHABI- First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD , the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, expects to enter Saudi Arabia's banking market in 2018, a senior executive said on Sunday.

The bank has applied for a commercial banking licence in the kingdom, Karim Karoui, the bank's group head of subsidiaries, strategy and transformation, told reporters.

FAB, created by last year's merger between National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, recently was given the go-ahead by Saudi Arabia's regulator to conduct arranging and advising activities in the securities sector. 

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The move comes as other international banks have also increased their presence in the kingdom in recent months including Goldman Sachs C.N and Citigroup C.N .

James Burdett, FAB's group chief financial officer said, the bank's plan to issue sukuk or Islamic bonds will depend on market conditions.

(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho; Writing by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Tom Arnold) ((Saeed.Azhar@thomsonreuters.com; +971 44536787; Reuters Messaging: saeed.azhar.reuters.com@reuters.net))