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Banking & Finance

Banking news and finance news from the Middle East. All the important stories, exclusive interviews, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

Shell Aramco LNG

Shell beats Aramco in race to buy LNG business

Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil exporter, has lost out to UK rival Shell in its bid to buy Pavilion Energy, a Singapore trader of liquefied natural gas (LNG), from Temasek, the Asian island nation’s sovereign investment fund. Both companies were shortlisted for a potential acquisition worth billions of dollars. No financial details of Shell’s […]

ADIA Hargreaves Lansdown

ADIA group raises offer for UK stock trading platform

A consortium including Abu Dhabi’s biggest sovereign wealth fund is poised to buy stock trading platform Hargreaves Lansdown after making an improved non-binding offer for the British company. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s (ADIA) wholly owned subsidiary Platinum Ivy has teamed up with private equity firms CVC and Nordic Capital to offer £11.40 ($14.51) per share […]

Money, Dollar, Adult

ADIA acquires minority stake in Fisher Investments

Private equity firm Advent International and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) have agreed to take up a minority stake in US investment adviser Fisher Investments. The investment will be between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, valuing Fisher Investments at $12.75 billion. The deal, which is expected to close later this year, is subject […]

Liquid assets in the UAE's banking sector reached AED787 billion by the end of Q1 2024, rising 28 percent year on year

UAE’s gold reserves rise 13% to $5.3bn

The value of gold reserves of the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) reached AED19.6 billion ($5.3 billion) at the end of March 2024, rising 13 percent year on year. Gold reserves increased by 9.8 percent on a monthly basis from AED17.9 billion in February 2024, the UAE state-run Wam news agency reported, citing the […]

Shorooq partners wants to offer funding to startups that do not usually qualify for bank loans

Shorooq Partners targets startups with private credit fund

A $100 million private credit fund from Abu Dhabi’s Shorooq Partners will lend to Gulf startups and medium-sized companies that possess tangible assets or generate strong, recurring cashflows, a senior executive told AGBI. The firm’s second private credit fund made its first close in late May. Its minority partner is South Korea’s IMM Investment Global, […]

Rothschild Saudi

Edmond de Rothschild to run funding vehicle for Saudi projects

The Edmond de Rothschild Group is establishing a funding vehicle for infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia along with the local firm SNB Capital, as part of a deal in which the Swiss investment bank will set up offices in the country.  Saudi Arabia’s massive economic diversification programme has run into financial obstacles as it faces […]

Private credit or non-bank lending has soared in popularity since the global financial crisis

Better terms and returns swell private credit demand

Private credit in the Gulf is attracting greater interest from borrowers and investors, fund managers say. For borrowers, high interest rates have depressed mid-sized, private company valuations and make selling equity to raise money less alluring. And for investors, private credit offers more regular returns than the likes of private equity. Private credit is non-bank […]

Bank customers in Dubai. Deposits by UAE residents eached AED2.4 trillion ($664 billion) as of March 31

UAE bank deposits soar as higher rates attract savers

Deposits at banks in the UAE have surged as account holders take advantage of higher interest rates to earn bigger returns on their savings, data from the country’s central bank shows. Resident deposits totalled AED2.4 trillion ($664 billion) as of March 31, up 16 percent versus 12 months earlier. Non-resident deposits – those held by […]

Saudi foreign debt flags

Tax on foreigners may be axed to boost Saudi bond market

The tax on foreign investment in Saudi corporate bonds may be scrapped in an effort to boost the market. Saudi Arabia’s Capital Markets Authority has issued a report describing the 5 percent withholding tax on interest payments to corporate bondholders as “unattractive and discouraging for foreign institutional investors”. It called for “easing tax requirements for […]

The total value of Qatari mortgage transactions has risen by 110 percent in two years. New regulations came into force in 2023

Qatar’s mortgage market buoyed by law reforms

Qatar’s mortgage market has been given a lift by a package of regulatory reforms, industry experts told AGBI after transactions rose sharply despite high interest rates. In the first quarter of 2024, the value of Qatari mortgage transactions was nearly 90 percent higher than in the previous three months, according to ValuStrat research. It was […]

A wind farm in Beberibe municipality. The Saudi PIF will invest in a range of sectors in Brazil, including renewable energy

Saudi Arabia’s PIF to invest $15bn to drive Brazil’s growth

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is planning to invest $15 billion in Brazil, according to a media report. The investments will be made in green hydrogen, infrastructure and renewable energy sectors, Reuters reported, quoting Brazil’s minister for energy, Alexandre Silveira. In May Manara Minerals, a joint venture between the Saudi […]

About 50 asset managers that conduct hedge fund activities are registered at DIFC in Dubai

Global hedge funds expand presence in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Thirteen of the world’s top 100 hedge funds have offices in the Dubai International Finance Centre, research shows, as more of the specialist asset managers set up operations in the UAE. It is a similar story in the newer-established Abu Dhabi Global Market, where Brevan Howard – the world’s 13th-largest hedge fund by assets under […]

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, president of the UAE, in Abu Dhabi last September. Another EU delegation visited last week

EU woos Emirati investors while keeping UAE on ‘grey list’

The European Union is intensifying efforts to attract investment from the UAE despite keeping the Emirates on its “grey list”, a marker of heightened scrutiny and potential obstacles for investors. An EU delegation visited Abu Dhabi last week to promote the bloc’s Capital Markets Union (CMU) plan. A single market for capital, harmonising exchange regulations […]

private credit Omar Al Yawer Ruya Partners

Private credit fund looks for $250m from Gulf investors

Ruya Partners, which describes itself as the Gulf’s first partner-owned private credit provider, aims to raise $250 million from investors by mid to late 2024, senior executive Omar Al Yawer has revealed to AGBI.  The Abu Dhabi business says regional sovereign wealth funds have become more amenable to investing in the private credit sector. Private […]

Acwa Hofa wind Jordan

Acwa Power to raise $2bn in rights issue

Saudi Arabia’s green energy developer, Acwa Power, plans to raise SAR7 billion ($1.9 billion) in new capital through a rights issue to help treble its assets under management by 2030.  The company, which is owned by the government’s Public Investment Fund, said the new shares issued to current shareholders would allow Acwa to “anchor its […]

A worker at Veggitech, a start-up farm in Sharjah, UAE. Agtech startups are looking beyond VC entities for funding

Agriculture startups failing to cultivate VC interest

Agriculture technology founders in the Gulf are having to resort to alternative sources of funding, as interest from venture capital entities dries up. The region is following a global trend. Startups in so-called “agtech” cumulatively raised $1.2 billion across 161 deals in the first quarter of this year, down almost 26 percent and 20 percent […]

Shares in construction company Drake & Scull resumed trading in Dubai at the end of May after a six-year suspension

Drake & Scull wins $10m appeal in Dubai court

Drake & Scull International (DSI) has won an appeal to receive compensation worth AED36.7 million ($9.99 million) from a major company in Dubai.   The compensation includes bank guarantees, the Dubai Financial Market-listed construction company said on Thursday. In addition, it will receive fees, interest and expenses in the case as per the judgement by Dubai […]

QIA is looking to invest in Japan's real estate, manufacturing and semiconductor sectors

Qatari wealth fund targets expansion in Japan 

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is exploring new opportunities in Japan, according to a media report. “It’s a key market for us,” Abdulla Ali Al-Kuwari told Nikkei, a financial daily in Japan. The fund’s investments in Japan have “more than doubled” after it opened an office in Singapore in 2021, he […]

A Garanti branch in Istanbul. It is one of Turkey's largest banks by assets

Stable lira and bonfire of red tape help Turkish banks

Turkish banks are under less operational pressure thanks to a more stable lira, simpler rules and policymakers’ swing back towards economic orthodoxy, Fitch said on Wednesday.  Analysts at the credit rating agency warned that rising funding costs would compress lenders’ net interest margins, however. Fitch has raised its long-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings for 18 […]

A construction worker in Riyadh. PIF carries the burden of funding $1.25 trillion of projects

PIF appoints banks for its sterling debt offering

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s largest sovereign wealth fund, has appointed banks to handle its new debt offering. Barclays, BNP Paribas, HSBC and J.P. Morgan have been mandated as joint global coordinators for the sterling-denominated dual-tranche notes, fixed income news service IFR reported. The 5-year and 15-year senior unsecured notes are part of […]