Dubai’s largest bank looks beyond Gulf to Africa

Dubai’s largest bank looks beyond Gulf to Africa

DUBAI - Reuters
Dubai’s largest bank looks beyond Gulf to Africa

Emirates NBD may invest in Africa. REUTERS photo

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

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

While the Dubai-based bank is looking at opening in a couple of strategic locations in Asia, it is unlikely to expand its operations there in the near term, instead focusing its attention on a Middle East arc stretching from Turkey to India, Pudner said in an interview at the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit.

“Historically, we’ve been interested in Turkey, but there’s nothing specific at the moment,” Pudner said.

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, who has spent much of the last 30 years working in the Gulf region.