FAB resumes discussions on Bank Audi-Lebanon acquisition

ABU DHABI/October 28-2020: After months being under suspension, the UAE’s largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), has revived the plan to acquire Bank Audi-Lebanon.

FAB on Wednesday has officially confirmed that it has resumed discussions on an exclusive basis with Bank Audi-Lebanon with regard to the acquisition of the latter.

FAB said these discussions are subject to a confirmatory due diligence exercise, definitive transactions agreements and the necessary regulatory approvals.

The statement said the potential acquisition is in line with FAB’s long-term growth strategy and expansion plans in targeted markets.

Though the reports about the acquisition of Bank Audi-Lebanon by FAB had kicked up much fanfare in the market until some months back after FAB officially announced the plan in January, the discussions were put on hold in May due to the unfavourable market conditions induced by COVID 19.

Stake in digital bank

FAB has recently announced another plan to take 10 per cent stake in a digital bank to be launched by Abu Dhabi-based investment group, ADQ, using the licence of the erstwhile First Gulf Bank (FGB) secured from FAB.

FAB has plans to increase the stake in the exclusive digital bank by further 10 per cent at the time of its initial public offering (IPO).

It was in May, both FAB and Bank Audi-Lebanon had mutually consented to put on hold the discussions on the proposed acquisition of the Egyptian subsidiary of Lebanon’s Bank Audi.

“This is due to the unprecedented circumstances and the uncertain outlook relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, and is in the best interests of our shareholders, customers and employees,” FAB had said in a filing sent to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), where the bank’s shares are listed.

In January, FAB, the largest UAE bank in terms of assets had said it was in discussions with Bank Audi to acquire the latter’s business in Egypt and in order to expedite the deal, a working group was also formed.

 

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