NBAD targets overseas markets for growth
Abu Dhabi, January 30, 2013
National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the UAE's largest lender by market value, aims to lift the proportion of revenue from international sources to compensate for slow growth at home, its chief executive said.
"The broad picture is that the domestic business has been performing relatively flat but the international business has been going rather well and we expect this growth to continue," Michael Tomalin told an analysts' call on Wednesday.
The bank, which reported a 3.2 percent drop in loans and advances in 2012, was targeting an equal split between local and foreign earnings. Tomalin gave no timetable to achieve this.
Earnings from international clients, including those from foreign sources booked through its Abu Dhabi base, rose to 42 percent of the total, up from 38 percent in 2011, Tomalin said.
Lending growth, a traditional driver of profit for UAE banks, has been subdued for some time. Loan growth in the first ten months of 2012 was 3 percent, according to the latest central bank figures available.
Early last year, NBAD forecast growth in loans and advances in 2012 of up to 10 percent before lowering the projection to 4-8 percent in October.
This compares with rampant loan growth in other parts of the Gulf - Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Arabia's biggest bank, and Qatar National Bank, the largest lender in Qatar, reported 23 and 28.9 percent loan growth in 2012 respectively.
NBAD is forecasting 10 percent loan growth for 2013, with revenue growth of "high single digits, maybe 10 percent," according to Tomalin.
However, NBAD was not likely to make acquisitions to boost its international business, Tomalin said.
"We don't eschew acquisitions forever," Tomalin said, adding there were one or two countries, without being specific, which the bank would look at as possible target markets.
NBAD hoped to set up offices in Lebanon, South Sudan, Brazil, Turkey, India and South Korea in the next two years and strengthen its presence in Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Sudan and Bahrain. - Reuters