The UAE has always sought to strengthen its presence in the Egyptian market, and to expand it considerably. This was evident in recent years. UAE banks fought fierce competition with other foreign banks to acquire some of the Egyptian and European banks which were put up for sale.
The number of UAE banks operating in the Egyptian market are five banks, namely Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Union National Bank-Egypt, and Mashreq.
First Abu Dhabi Bank
Formerly known as the Abu Dhabi National Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank was among the first of the Arab and UAE banks to enter the Egyptian market, where it has been operating since 1975.
According to previous statements by the bank CEO in Egypt, Ahmed Ismail Hassan, the board of directors of the parent bank and its executive management in Abu Dhabi provide full support to the bank’s unit in Egypt, believing in the importance of the Egyptian market as one of the most important foreign markets in the coming period.
Hassan added that Egypt’s renaissance, which connects both the west and east, prompted investors to expend capital in Egypt, especially with the gradual disappearance of the short-term challenges facing Egyptian economy, hence signalling further inflow of foreign direct investment.
“The recent steps taken by the Egyptian government to improve the ease of conducting business have had a major impact on the economy. I am confident that in the coming period we will see more reforms that will give Egyptian companies the flexibility they need to grow. Egypt is a huge market with immense potential for growth and assimilating investment. Today is the time to invest,” Hassan declared.
Mashreq Bank has been operating in Egypt for 25 years with about 15 branches. Egypt is one of three markets—including New York and Qatar—where the bank is considering to expand in the coming period.
Mashreq competed against many Egyptian, Arab, and foreign banks operating in the Egyptian market to acquire Citibank’s retail portfolio. The deal was later concluded for CIB-Egypt.
According to an official at the bank, the Egyptian market is experiencing increased competition, and is attracting additional Arab and foreign banks, given the 10% annual growth rate it has achieved, This is on top of the growth achieved by the Egyptian economy in the past period.
He stressed that Egypt is gaining substantial attention from the parent bank, as it comes betwixt its priorities and expansion plans.
Mashreq is the fifth largest bank in the UAE, with a capital of about $5bn. It accounts for 8% of the market share in the UAE, and has branches in several countries, including New York, Hong Kong, India, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar.
Union National Bank (UNB) is one of the largest Emirati banks operating in the Egyptian market. It acquired the Alexandria Commercial and Maritime Bank in a deal worth EGP 244.5m in 2006. The bank’s current capital is EGP 1.27bn.
Since UNB purchased the Alexandria Commercial and Maritime Bank and relocated its headquarters in Cairo, the bank’s management focused on developing its capabilities, infrastructure, retail portfolios, and full operational capacity, before officially announcing its launch in order to ensure the best service standards and superior products which meet the needs of all its customers.
UNB-Egypt has built a strong infrastructure for all its branches, and introduced many products in retail and corporate banking.
According to the Vice Chairperson and CEO of Union National Bank Group, Mohamed Nasr Abdeen, they are determined to implement an ambitious strategy to competitively expand within the Egyptian market in all sectors of syndicated loans, small and medium projects, and personal financing.
Abdeen informed Daily News Egypt in previous remarks that there is a desire by the UAE group to continue and grow within the Egyptian market. He noted that it has been implementing an expansionary strategy since the acquisition of the Alexandria Commercial and Maritime Bank, and centred on training the employees.
“The UAE parent group supports Egypt’s current economic direction, and contributes towards building an integrated economy and national capitalist economy by financing the private sector, It is expanding its client base, as well as playing a vital role in supporting UAE companies which will participate in the implementation of national projects. The bank is also ready to secure funding and provide letters of guarantee to Emirati companies who wish to invest in Egypt,” Abdeen said.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
The Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB)was the outcome of an acquisition deal by the ADIB and the Emirates International Investment Company LLC (EIIC) over the National Development Bank (NDB) in 2007.
As a comprehensive bank, ABIB focuses on providing a range of modern financial solutions compatible with Islamic Shariah for its clients. The bank also aims to build a modern infrastructure, and renovate its branches across Egypt.
To achieve integration in banking services, the bank has established two further subsidiaries in order to function in financial leasing and investment banking.
ADIB’s paid-up resources increased by seven folds since the acquisition deal, rising from EGP 281m in 2007 to a current EGP 2bn. Its authorised capital stands at EGP 4bn.
The bank has successfully provided the ability to serve individuals and corporates, introduce solutions to short and long-term funding, manage syndicated financing, liquidity investment, and finance trade, thus enabling ADIB to build a portfolio of several major local and international companies in Egypt.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank-Egypt has 2,000 employees to serve its clients throughout 70 branches, and 40 micro-financing units across Egypt.
Although Emirati banks have been present in Egypt for years, Emirates NBD’s decision to enter the Egyptian market was a strong addition to the UAE’s presence in Egypt.
In June 2013, Emirates NBD acquired BNP Paribas in a deal worth about $500m.
According to a senior official at the bank, the unit in Egypt is supported by the parent group in the UAE, with significant confidence in the Egyptian economy and banking sector.
The source explained in previous comments to DNE that the parent group believes in the strong potential of the Egyptian market, which would reflect on the banks’ activities and increase its business volume.
Emirates NBD-Egypt finances 22 sectors in Egypt, with a focus on energy projects, as well as the major projects implemented by Emirati businessmen in Egypt.
The bank also pays particular attention to medium and small projects, especially the medium enterprises. These projects alone account for 30% of the bank’s corporate financing portfolio.