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International business drives Q1 growth at First Abu Dhabi

Hana Al Rostamani, CEO of First Abu Dhabi, pointed to the 'dynamism' of its international operations Cop28 / Stuart Wilson
Hana Al Rostamani, CEO of First Abu Dhabi, pointed to the 'dynamism' of its international operations
  • FAB’s revenue hit $2.2bn in Q1
  • Bank’s overseas revenue up 33%
  • Offset impact of UAE corporate tax

First Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s largest bank by assets, has reported revenue of AED8 billion ($2.2 billion) for the first quarter of 2024 after its international operations grew by a third.

FAB announced on Wednesday that revenue from outside its home market grew by 33 percent to AED2 billion. It makes up about a quarter of the total.

Revenue from local operations grew by 14 percent to AED5.9 billion. Overall revenue was up 18 percent.

International loans and deposits were up by 11 percent and 2 percent year on year, contributing 19 percent and 24 percent of the totals respectively.

FAB’s international operations include the UK, Europe, the US, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Singapore as well as the Middle East and North Africa. The bank is aiming to treble revenue from its operation in China by 2026.

It announced net profit of AED4.2 billion, up 6 percent on Q1 2023.

The increase in revenue largely offset the impact of the UAE corporate tax that came into effect in June 2023, FAB said in a statement. 

It solidified its position as the largest bank in the UAE as of the end of March. Its total assets were AED1.24 trillion, loans stood at AED508 billion and deposits at AED803 billion, all historical highs.

Hana Al Rostamani, group CEO, described the Q1 performance as “robust”, saying: “We remain focused on accelerating our growth strategy.”

“Our performance is anchored in the strength of the UAE economy, and increasingly backed by the dynamism of our international operations,” she added.

Experts told AGBI in February that GCC banks might be forced to look overseas to fulfil their growth ambitions as home markets become increasingly saturated.

While some banks have already ventured abroad – mainly into Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan, which constitute nearly half of their presence outside the Gulf – more developed markets such as China, the US and Europe remain untapped.

Lars Kramer, FAB’s group chief financial officer, said: “The strong revenue growth also enabled us to largely offset the impact of the UAE corporate tax and maintain robust provision coverage levels, particularly in the context of a global environment marked by continued uncertainties.”

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