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Abu Dhabi in discussions over triple bank merger

[BENGALURU] Abu Dhabi is exploring a merger of three banks that would create the fifth biggest Gulf lender with about US$110 billion in assets, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing people with knowledge of matter.

While no final decision has been made, talks are currently under way to combine Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, Union National Bank PJSC and privately held Al Hilal Bank, according to the report.

A deal could be announced as early as this month, Bloomberg said, noting the potential decision comes at a time the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates is exploring ways to manage its wealth following the 2014 slump in crude prices.

A spokesman for Union National Bank PJSC told Reuters he was not aware of a potential deal. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC declined to comment and Al Hilal Bank was not immediately available for comment.

The potential deal comes about two years after the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank won approval for a merger to create a banking heavyweight with US$175 billion in assets, part of the emirate's plan to revamp its economy hit by lower oil prices.

Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi consolidated two investment arms of the government, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) and Mubadala Investment Co, bringing hundreds of billions of dollars worth of funds under its control.


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