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Emirates NBD eyes Africa acquisitions

Dubai, November 21, 2012

Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest bank, is looking for acquisitions in fast-developing African markets to satisfy investor demand for growth it is unlikely to deliver at home.

The Dubai-based bank is targeting international revenues of around 15-20 per cent of its total in five years' time, up from 5 per cent at present, its chief executive Rick Pudner said in an interview at the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit.

Acquisitions are likely to play a role in this, given the difficulties of achieving organic growth in the current economic environment, Pudner said, marking a significant shift from the bank's previous strategy of building the business organically.

"If you can find something that isn't betting the bank on but is a good opportunity to take advantage of weaker asset prices in the region, then you need to look at it," Pudner said, confirming the bank was looking at a couple of potential buys, including in Africa.

Emirates NBD, which was formed by the 2007 merger of Emirates Bank and National Bank of Dubai, has enough cash to acquire the type of asset it is looking at without seeking outside finance, added the former HSBC executive.

While Pudner would not comment on a report that the bank was looking to acquire the Egyptian assets of BNP Paribas, he said the North African country was an attractive market for the bank.

"It's not, per capita, the most wealthy country in the region but it's got the potential," said the top banking executive.

"Demographics are key and it's a big population and an under-banked population. If you look at the next 10, 20, 30 years in terms of the development of that kind of economy, it has to be long-term positive."-Reuters




Tags: Africa | Bank | merger | Emirates NBD |

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