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Standard Chartered not expecting further FAB approach

Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters 'has no reason to believe' FAB will make a bid to buy the British bank SCMP via Reuters Connect
Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters 'has no reason to believe' FAB will make a bid to buy the British bank
  • First Abu Dhabi Bank considered buyout of British counterpart
  • StanChart agreed to sell Jordan business in March
  • Pre-tax profits for H1 were $3.32 billion

The boss of British bank Standard Chartered does not anticipate a further acquisition approach from First Abu Dhabi Bank as a six-month cooling off period required by UK takeover rules comes to an end.

The London-listed bank has been the subject of speculation this year around a possible sale to FAB, the UAE’s biggest lender.

FAB had intimated in January that it had considered a bid for Standard Chartered, although it added at the time that the plans had subsequently been shelved.

“We have no reason to think that they’ll (FAB) come back to us,” Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Under UK and Hong Kong takeover rules, FAB is not permitted to submit an offer for Standard Chartered within six months of the previous bid’s termination without the consent of the British bank’s board, or in the absence of a rival takeover.

That period is due to expire in August.

“They can’t speak to us and they haven’t spoken to us,” Winters said.

FAB has been contacted for comment.

Higher interest rates, a slowdown in non-oil activity and uncertain global economic conditions have led to a more conservative forecast for UAE banking industry loan growth.

Predictions are growth will slow to 3 percent this year, S&P Global said, down from nearly 6 percent in 2022. 

This has spurred FAB and Dubai lender Emirates NBD to consider foreign acquisitions, analysts previously told AGBI.

Standard Chartered in March agreed to sell its business in Jordan to Arab Jordan Investment Bank.

AviLease, a jet lessor owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, is competing to buy Standard Chartered’s aviation finance business, Bloomberg reported earlier this year, in a deal that could be valued at $3.7 billion.

The British bank’s pre-tax profits for the first half of this year increased 20 percent to $3.32 billion, surpassing the $3.18 billion estimate from analysts.

“We are mindful of the external macroeconomic headwinds and recent challenges in the banking sector,” Winters said in a statement.

“However, our balance sheet is robust and we have the right strategy, business model and ambition to deliver our targets.”