Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur: The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the Number One Bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has made Malaysia its regional hub to lead expansion in the country and across Southeast Asia.
NBAD inaugurated its wholly owned subsidiary National Bank of Abu Dhabi Malaysia Berhad (NBAD – Malaysia) in Kuala Lumpur with an investment of RM310 million (AED372.1 million, US$101.3 million).
NBAD ambitious plans in Southeast Asia include expanding to 30 branches in Malaysia in the next decade and into Indonesia and Singapore.
Malaysia is chosen as NBAD regional hub given its significant economic clout in the region and its robust trading activities with GCC. The UAE stood as Malaysia’s biggest trading partner in the GCC in 2011 with MYR 21.06 Billion (AED 24.42 Billion) of trade flows.
Bilateral Trade with the GCC stood at MYR 43.76 Billion (AED 50.76 Billion). This figure is expected to grow 41% as a result of Malaysia-GCC Framework Agreement on Economic, Commercial, Investment and Technical Cooperation signed in Abu Dhabi in January 2011, which would set the platform for a Free-Trade-Agreement (FTA).
“Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing regions in the world with strong commercial links to UAE. Malaysia is the region’s largest trading partner with the Gulf region and in the UAE in particular, making it a natural choice for us to establish a Subsidiary here,” said Michael H. Tomalin, the Group Chief Executive of NBAD.
Malaysia is one of the largest economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which also includes Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
“Malaysia represents a strategic importance for NBAD because of its ideal geographical location, stability and healthy market climate,” said Qamber Ali Al Mulla, the Senior General Manager of the International Banking Division of NBAD.
Mr. Al Mulla added: “Our subsidiary in Malaysia demonstrates our confidence in the market and in our ability to provide excellent products and services in the region, especially through our firm foothold in the UAE, complemented by a strong presence in the GCC, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.” NBAD-Malaysia, which is a fully-licensed conventional commercial bank, offers wholesale banking with the strategy to offer other banking products and services. NBAD-Malaysia would primarily focus on providing working capital and trade finance facilities to wholly or partially government-owned companies (GLC), top-tiered Malaysian companies, multi-national companies, established manufacturers and exporters who transact with Middle East countries.
“NBAD-Malaysia comes into existence at the most dynamic period in Arab-Malaysian commercial history,” said Leong See Meng, the Chief Executive Officer of NBAD – Malaysia. “The trade ties between Malaysia and the Arab world have existed for many centuries, going back to 13th century Malacca. The free Trade Agreement between Malaysia and GCC begins a new era and creates great opportunities. NBAD-Malaysia is strategically positioned to, again, bridge Arab business interest with Malaysia and further strengthens the healthy bilateral trade and investments between both parties.” Mr. Leong added: “NBAD-Malaysia offers our customers unrivaled access to the Arab world and several other countries where NBAD, one of the World’s 50 Safest Banks, has active operation.” NBAD has been ranked since 2009 one of the World’s 50 Safest Banks and has advanced every year in the ranking to become the Safest Bank in the Middle East. The Bank has maintained its strong credit rating, which is one of the highest combined ratings in the MENA.
In 2004, NBAD, the most profitable bank in the UAE, became the first UAE bank to earn more than Dh1 billion in net profits. The Bank achieved another groundbreaker for the country’s banking industry when in 2010 it earned more than US$1 billion in annual net profits.
NBAD’s international network, which is the largest and most widespread among UAE banks, spans 15 countries across four continents. It stretches from China and Hong Kong in the Far East to Malaysia in Southeast Asia; Oman, UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait in the GCC; Jordan in the Levant; Egypt, Sudan and Libya in Africa; Switzerland, France and the UK in Europe; and the United States of America in North America.
The Bank has further expansion plans.
“Our strategy is to take the bank from a presence in 14 countries to around 41 countries in the next 10 years,” Mr. Al Mulla said.
“In the short to medium term our new destinations will be Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq, India, South Sudan, Turkey, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam” he added.
In the first half of 2012, NBAD’s international operations increased its operating profits by 28% compared with corresponding period in 2011, contributing 16.3% to the Bank’s AED 4.1 Billion ($1.1 Billion).
NBAD-Malaysia branch is located in Menara Maxis, Kuala Lumpur City Center, Kuala Lumpur.