Middle Eastern Awards for Excellence 2011: By country
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Middle Eastern Awards for Excellence 2011: By country

Awards for Excellence 2011
Regional Awards for Excellence 2011: Middle East
All regions and countries
Middle Eastern winners by country
  Palestinian Territories
  Saudi Arabia


Best bank: Ahli United Bank

Even before anti-government protests led to a three-month state of emergency in early 2011 in the island nation, Bahrain’s claim to be the Gulf’s financial centre had already been strongly challenged by Dubai. The offshore wholesale banking sector had already been hit hard by the global crunch in dollar credit and by regional equity and property crashes.

The assets of offshore Bahraini Islamic investment banks are especially concentrated in real estate. Local property prices had already fallen about 50% since 2008, even before the protests. According to Moody’s, 30% of Bahraini bank loans are in real estate and construction.

But some banks are more exposed to the dangers than others. Ahli United Bank has performed spectacularly well despite the challenges. AUB’s diversification across the Middle East – it only has about 20% of its assets in Bahrain – is part of its success.

But its profit-making resilience is also a testament to good risk management. In 2010, AUB actually saw a reduction in non-performing loans, to just 2.4%. Moreover, its provision coverage increased from 95% in 2009 to 119% in 2010.

In 2010, AUB’s net profit grew 32% to $265.5 million and in the first quarter of 2011 its profit rose 20% compared with the same period in 2010.

During 2010, AUB’s assets grew 12%; its loans and advances grew 9%; its customer deposits grew 12% – and growth in all these areas continued in the first quarter of 2011. By the end of the year, the bank had increased its return on equity to 12% and increased return on assets to 1.2%.

AUB extended its range of Islamic products in Bahrain, and saw success in a deposit prize-draw scheme. The bank launched a new range of bancassurance products, including conventional and takaful (Islamic) life-insurance products, through a joint venture with UK insurer Legal & General.

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Best bank: Bank of Alexandria
Best investment bank: Morgan Stanley

Egypt’s banking system has taken positive steps in recent years. The banks coped well with mass demonstrations in 2011 and avoided deposit runs.

Although it remains behind private-sector banks in terms of profitability, even state-owned National Bank of Egypt, the country’s largest bank, has seen market-orientated management improve its capital-adequacy and bad-debt levels. Meanwhile, Commercial International Bank (CIB) is Egypt’s biggest private bank in terms of its assets, loans, deposits and net income.

Nevertheless, the bank that stands out in terms of improvements to its management, product range and service to customers is Bank of Alexandria. Take its introduction this year of a system allowing individuals to pay bills for Telecom Egypt (the landline monopoly) via ATMs.

Bank of Alexandria is particularly strong in retail, a crucial sector in Egypt. Retail looks set to perform even better now with civil-service salary hikes and purges from the corporate sector of those accused of being cronies of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Bank of Alexandria has benefited from its privatisation and take-over in 2006 by Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo. The IFC (the private-sector arm of the World Bank) made a $200 million equity investment in Bank of Alexandria in 2009, buying a 10% stake – the IFC’s second-biggest equity investment globally. This has been especially helpful in terms of the IFC’s transfer of know-how, particularly to the bank’s already-strong franchise among small and medium-sized enterprises.

Egypt’s banks were not able to provide figures for the first quarter of 2011 by the time Euromoney’s awards panel met. But 2010 was a particularly successful year for Bank of Alexandria. CIB posted net profit growth of 15% in 2010, but Bank of Alexandria’s net profit increased twice as rapidly, rising 30% compared with 2009. In 2010 Bank of Alexandria saw growth in loans and deposits of 12%, and growth in assets of 16%.

In investment banking, local firm EFG Hermes, one of the most recognised regional investment banks, again executed a striking number and range of deals in its home market. Nevertheless, Morgan Stanley has advised on key telecoms deals for entrepreneur Naguib Sawiris and his Orascom Telecom group, including acting as sole financial adviser in a restructuring of Sawiris’ telecoms business in Greece.

Morgan Stanley executed a $1 billion structured credit facility for the Egyptian national oil company, EGPC, in 2010. Since 2005 Morgan Stanley has executed financings whereby EGPC contractually agrees to deliver a fixed volume of hydrocarbons to a special-purpose vehicle in return for an upfront prepayment, and any excess cash flow resulting from higher oil prices is returned to EGPC. The new facility monetised these excess cash flows, allowing EGPC relatively cheap financing without additional hydrocarbon pledges. Morgan Stanley executed a contiguous interest-rate swap.

Morgan Stanley was bookrunner on National Bank of Egypt’s $600 million five-year bonds issued at a yield of 5.25%. Demand for the bonds reached $2.12 billon and the bonds performed well in the secondary market.

The standout deal in Egypt over the period was the state’s first sovereign bond since an Egyptian pound-linked deal in 2007 and a US dollar issuance in 2001. Morgan Stanley and HSBC were bookrunners. Ten-year notes for $1 billion were issued at a yield of 5.75%, with an additional $500 million 30-year tranche issued at a yield of 6.875%.

The deal garnered orders for more than $12 billion from more than 300 accounts. It came to the market at the same time as Russia’s first sovereign bond in 12 years, but the Egypt deal outperformed Russia’s bond in the secondary market.

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Best bank: Mizrahi Tefahot Bank
Best investment bank: Citi

Other Israeli banks have seen dramatic drops in profit and even losses thanks to exposure to US structured debt and domestic corporate debt restructurings following the global crisis. Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, on the other hand, had few such difficulties. As a result, the bank only suffered a slight decline in profit at the height of the crisis.

In 2010, meanwhile, Mizrahi Tefahot posted 51.7% profit growth and in the first quarter of 2011 net profit was up 40% year on year. Over the period under review, its loans and deposits both rose just under 13%.

Mortgages represent perhaps the biggest growth opportunity for Israeli banks, and Mizrahi Tefahot (despite being only the fourth biggest bank by assets) has the largest share of the mortgage market, 34% – up from around 27% in 2005. The bank’s market share in overall credit has also risen, from around 8% in the early 2000s to around 15% today.

It is partly thanks to the prudent policies of Mizrahi Tefahot (and Bank of Israel) that Israeli mortgages have remained a relatively low-risk area, even during the local property boom. The sector’s average loan-to-value ratio on new mortgages was still only 60% at the end of last year, while the sector’s non-performing loan ratio was only 1%.

Meanwhile, Citi, according to Dealogic, was the only bank to achieve top-three positions in the 12 months under review in all of the main investment-banking rankings: debt capital markets, equity capital markets and M&A.

In debt, Citi was bookrunner on three bonds of varying maturities from Teva Pharmaceuticals, totalling $3.25 billion (the bonds were partly to redeem existing instruments and partly for a new acquisition).

In equity, aside from bookrunning the $22 million follow-on in New York and Tel Aviv for Protalix BioTherapeutics, Citi also acted as sole bookrunner in accelerated offerings by Israel Discount Bank and Bank Hapoalim. Israel Discount Bank’s offering comprised the government’s 11.7% residual stake, raising $231 million. Hapoalim sold 3.03% owned by Israeli entrepreneur Shari Arison, raising $180 million.

Citi acted as sole M&A adviser to Israel Chemicals on its $270 million acquisition of a unit of US horticulture firm Scotts Miracle-Gro. The bank further advised on the $392 million sale of London- and Warsaw-listed Atlas Estates to Israeli property firm Izaki, as well as on a $50 million acquisition of Peruvian electricity firm Edegel by privately owned conglomerate Israel Corp.

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Best bank: Arab Bank

With group assets of just under $50 billion, Amman-headquartered Arab Bank continues to dominate the Jordanian banking market. It accounts for 57% of the banking sector’s capitalisation on the Amman Stock Exchange, and almost 27% of the exchange’s total capitalisation.

The bank’s share of total assets in Jordan is 23.9%. It accounts for 24% of deposits in the country and 17.3% of direct credit facilities. It has one of the Middle East’s biggest pan-regional banking networks, with operations in every Middle Eastern and North African Arab country except Iraq and Kuwait.

Arab Bank is also one of the safest banks in the region, with one of the most sophisticated risk-management departments of any regional bank. Its capital adequacy was 15% at the end of the first quarter of 2011. Its loans-to-deposits ratio was just over 60%.

Although, due to provisioning at group level, profits fell by 46% in 2010, the group still earned $205 million in net income. Meanwhile, in Jordan, Arab Bank’s net profit before tax increased 9% in 2010.

In Jordan, it continues to expand in retail, and during the year it opened new branches, renovating or relocating others, and launching ATMs with online cash-deposit facilities. It also introduced new payroll accounts, mortgage products and other schemes.

At a global level, the bank re-launched its investment-banking coverage unit. It was joint lead manager of Jordan’s $750 million debut five-year sovereign Eurobond.

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Best bank: National Bank of Kuwait

Kuwait’s banks and financial markets continue to be weighed down by local investment companies, which ran into troubles after the regional equity and property crashes three years ago. Political wrangling in parliament continues to stymie the state’s attempts to boost Kuwait’s economic status with grandiose development projects.

National Bank of Kuwait dominates both corporate and retail banking in Kuwait and it is still giving strong support to the country’s economic growth. It continues to finance, for example, the Avenues, one of the largest shopping malls in the Middle East, developed by the local Al Shaya family’s property development arm, Mabanee. During 2010 NBK financed, as further examples, projects by Kuwait Cement Company, local media firm Al Rai and conglomerate Kipco.

In retail banking, NBK maintained its dominance in such areas as credit cards, where it launched a new card for its local mass-affluent segment. In wealth management, the bank launched a new Kuwaiti-dinar Islamic fund, among other initiatives.

NBK Capital is leading NBK’s drive in investment banking in Kuwait. Its Kuwait Investment Opportunity Fund, for example, has a total capital of $148 million and targets high-growth companies in the country, with a focus on healthcare, technology, education and industry. Foreign companies that are awarded contracts by government entities can invest in the fund as part of their industrial offset requirements.

In 2010, despite the problems that other Kuwaiti banks continued to experience with local investment companies, NBK’s group net profit rose 13% compared with 2009. Profit growth increased by 5% in the first quarter of 2011. Lending and deposits also increased over the period.

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Best bank: Bank Audi

Competition between banks in Lebanon continues to be robust and healthy, especially between the biggest and second-biggest institutions, Bank Audi and Blom. Nevertheless, during the 12 months we take into account for this award – April 1 2010 to March 31 2011 – Audi consolidated its lead over Blom in terms of the ultimate measure of success for many private-sector banks: net profit.

During the period, Audi’s net profit grew 17.4% compared with 12% at Blom. Audi’s net profit was also 7% higher in absolute terms.

This is the award for best bank in Lebanon, so regional operations are less of a concern. But Audi’s success was clearly not simply a result of better business internationally. In fact, its net operating profit outside Lebanon fell in 2010, whereas its domestic net operating profit grew 22%. Both Audi and Blom have a similar proportion of their lending outside Lebanon (about 40%).

Blom’s loan growth was faster between April 1 2010 and March 31 2011 (25% compared with Audi’s 15%). However, it is difficult to see from market disclosures how much of this loan growth was in or outside Lebanon. Of the two, Audi’s loan book in any case remains about 60% bigger.

Over the same period, Audi’s loan growth was slightly higher. This year, therefore, at least in terms of loan growth, Blom contradicted the reputation it has sometimes had among equity and ratings analysts as a less growth-orientated bank. But so far this larger relative growth in lending has not borne fruit in terms of larger relative profit growth.

In the latter three quarters of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, Blom’s credit losses increased faster. Deposit growth was very slightly higher at Blom: 7.2% at Audi compared with 8.5% at Blom. But again, Audi’s deposit base remains 20% bigger.

Smaller Lebanese banks such as Byblos, meanwhile, are still failing to make headway in winning market share from Audi and Blom. Overall, this year the incumbents entrenched their positions.

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Best bank: Bank Muscat

This year’s winner has fought some worthy rivals. Its domestic business recovered well in the 12 months under consideration.

Despite profits falling in the first quarter of 2010, Bank Muscat’s net profit grew 38% in 2010 as a whole. This compares well with much smaller rivals such as Bank Dhofar (the winner of last year’s award). Bank Dhofar had a still-good 31% net profit growth in 2010. But Bank Dhofar’s 6% net profit growth in the first quarter of 2011 underlines the revival of Bank Muscat, which enjoyed by contrast 14% net profit growth in that quarter.

Following negligible loan growth in the previous 12 months, Bank Muscat’s loan growth was 4% in 2010. Bank Dhofar’s loan growth in 2010 was 5.7%, compared with 17% in 2009. But in the first quarter of 2011, Bank Muscat’s recovery was again cemented, with 17% loan growth compared with Dhofar’s 11%.

After a slight contraction in deposits in 2009, Bank Muscat achieved a healthy deposit growth of 17% in 2010, and 5% in the first quarter of 2011. Dhofar’s deposit base expanded at an only slightly less impressive 13% in 2010 and 7% in the first quarter of 2011. But like other rivals such as Bank Sohar, Bank Dhofar is growing from a much lower base than Bank Muscat.

The quality of Bank Muscat’s risk management is partly reflected in the fact that it retains the highest credit rating of any Omani bank. It is still by far the biggest bank in Oman, with an asset base more than three times the size of its nearest rivals. This year, Bank Muscat’s dominance was reaffirmed.

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Palestinian Territories

Best bank: Bank of Palestine

For any bank, the Palestinian Territories would be a difficult environment in which to operate. But Bank of Palestine, the most widespread bank, is doing an excellent job despite the circumstances.

Partly thanks to its continuing branch-building programme, the bank’s customers now number around half a million, with deposits of around $1.25 billion. Its credit facilities amount to around $545 million and 17,000 new loans were granted in 2010. Net profit reached $30.1 million in 2010.

In the past few years, Bank of Palestine has established a microfinance unit and launched the Palestinian Territories’ first student-loan programme. The bank operates a programme of lending to households and to small and medium-sized enterprises (especially in rural areas) for the digging of wells, installation of alternative power generators and wastewater management systems providing irrigation to arable land. Because of Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian access to water resources (and also partly because of bad water-management by the Palestinian Authority), this is crucial.

Aside from financing real-estate projects, Bank of Palestine has started offering mortgages to middle- and low-income families, with concession loans for up to 25 years. The Palestinian Investment Fund and the IFC (the private sector arm of the World Bank) are supporting this mortgage programme. The IFC has further helped Bank of Palestine improve its risk management and corporate governance.

Bank of Palestine has installed the first and only point-of-sale machines in the territories, now available at about 4,000 retailers. The bank has also built a branch where customers can transact around the clock at an electronic kiosk, and it plans to open these kiosks across the Palestinian Territories.

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Best bank: Qatar National Bank
Best debt house: Barclays Capital
Best M&A house: Credit Suisse

All four of the biggest Qatari commercial banks are partially government-owned. Moreover, private-sector credit demand in Qatar was weak over the year, while opportunities for lending to the government remained robust.

In this environment, banks closer to the government stood to benefit most. But even taking this advantage into account, the performance of Qatar National Bank (QNB) was exceptional, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

In 2010, QNB’s net profit rose 36% compared with net profit growth of 7.3% at Commercial Bank of Qatar, 1.5% at Qatar Islamic Bank and 8.3% at Doha Bank. QNB’s net profit growth looks set to outpace its rivals by far in 2011 too, as the bank posted 34.8% in the first quarter.

QNB’s loan growth in 2010 was 20%, its asset growth was 22% and growth in customer deposits was 28%. In the first quarter of 2011, growth in these three areas was of a similar or higher rate. The bank’s non-performing loan ratio remains low and its coverage ratio remains high.

Diversification outside Qatar continued. Over the 12 months, QNB completed the acquisition of a 69.6% stake in Bank Kesawan in Indonesia. It expanded operations and branch networks in Oman, Sudan and Syria; and it launched operations in Mauritania.

Although other banks in Qatar are more reliant on their retail franchises, over the year QNB established a dedicated vehicle-finance unit and launched Qatar’s first mobile phone-to-mobile phone payments system. In addition, the bank initiated a loan assurance programme with Qatar Development Bank for small and medium-sized enterprises in the state.

QNB acted as joint lead manager and financial adviser for new bonds issued by Qatar Telecom, Qatar Diar (the property-development arm of Qatar Investment Authority) and for the state of Qatar. The bank successfully issued its own debut Eurobond, a five-year deal for $1.5 billion – one of the largest investment-grade bonds ever issued by a Middle Eastern bank – achieving one of the lowest-ever coupons for a regional bank too. Lead managers were QNB Capital, BNP Paribas, JPMorgan, Standard Chartered and Barclays Capital.

Aside from the QNB bond, BarCap was sole co-ordinating bookrunner in a $3.5 billion bond for Qatari Diar. This was one of the largest financings ever in the Middle East and included one of the first government guarantees in a Middle Eastern corporate Eurobond. The bond attracted orders of $23 billion, with tranches of five and 10 years.

BarCap was joint arranger of Qatar Telecom’s $2.75 billion Eurobond, one of the biggest Gulf corporate bonds since the sub-prime crisis, achieving yields much lower than QTel’s debut issuance 16 months earlier. The 2010 deal has tranches for six and 10 years (at $1 billion each, both priced at a yield of 3.375%) and in addition – most notably – a tranche for 15 years ($750 million, priced at 5%). QTel awarded BarCap the documentation role.

In M&A, Credit Suisse was sole financial adviser to Qatar Holding, the strategic and direct investment arm of Qatar Investment Authority, in the May 2010 buy-out of London luxury department store Harrods, for a reported price of £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion). Egyptian billionaire Mohammed Al Fayed had owned the store since 1985 and remains honorary chairman. The asset raises Qatar’s international profile, with Qatar becoming only the fifth owner of Harrods since the store’s creation in 1840.

Credit Suisse was also exclusive leader of the $536 million acquisition of a 9.1% stake in German construction firm Hochtief, via a 10% share capital increase, exclusively subscribed by Qatar Holding. As Hochtief resisted takeover attempts by Spanish rival ACS, the share dilution made it more expensive to build a controlling stake. News of Qatar’s acquisition immediately sent Hochtief’s shares 5% higher, to €63 ($90) per share, compared with €57.1 paid by Qatar. Hochtief will benefit from the development of Qatari infrastructure ahead of Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 football World Cup.

Finally, Credit Suisse was exclusive adviser and financing provider in Qatar Diar’s €646 million acquisition of a 5% stake, for a three-year period, in French water utility Veolia Environment. It gives Qatar Diar a seat on the board of directors and allows the two firms to work together more easily in Qatar Diar’s projects.

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Saudi Arabia

Best bank: National Commercial Bank
Best investment bank: HSBC Saudi Arabia

With a stagnant stock market and family groups still reeling from the Saad and Al Gosaibi defaults, it was another lacklustre year for many Saudi banks. In 2010 Samba’s lending, for example, declined almost 5%. Samba’s net income declined 2.7% in 2010, with another decline of 7.1% in the first quarter of 2011.

Slightly better, Al Rajhi Bank’s Islamic investments and financings were up 7% in 2010. But net income grew just 0.1% in 2010 and by only 1.1% in the first quarter of 2011. Al Rajhi’s provisions rose for the fourth year running.

National Commercial Bank (NCB) has reduced its relatively large international investment portfolio and saw loan growth of 12% in 2010 and of 9.7% in the first quarter of 2011. It achieved deposit growth of 13% in 2010 and 19% in the first quarter of 2011.

NCB has been particularly active in Saudi project finance, often being key in allowing projects to close. It provided just over 20% of the bank financing for the $8 billion Ma’aden aluminium project, and just over 10% of the bank financing of the $12 billion Jubail refinery.

It also provided more than a quarter of the bank financing for Saudi Electricity Company’s $2.11 billion Riyadh power plant. It further extended a SR4.5 billion ($1.2 billion) seven-year loan to Saudi Kayan, a petrochemical project owned by national petrochemicals firm Sabic, to help Kayan overcome cost increases during its construction stage.

NCB’s credit impairment charges fell 30% in 2010. And following a $667 million impairment charge on investments in 2008, NCB’s charges on investments were just $14 million in 2010. Partly as a result, and following a profit rise of almost 100% in 2009, the kingdom’s biggest bank saw its net profit grow 16.5% in 2010, and by a further 6.4% in the first quarter of 2011.

NCB Capital is a world leader in Islamic fund management and in 2010 the firm’s assets under management grew 23%.

Nevertheless, HSBC Amanah is at least a worthy rival to NCB in Islamic fund management. HSBC Saudi Arabia surpasses its local rivals in other investment-banking product areas too.

HSBC dominates the country’s debt capital markets, with a 47% market share this year, according to Dealogic. In May 2010, it was sole ratings adviser and joint lead manager in Saudi Electricity Company’s SR7 billion 2030 corporate sukuk. This attracted SR27 billion of orders. In July 2010, the firm was sole lead manager in a SR700 million sukuk due in April 2011 for the Saudi Bin Laden Group – one of the kingdom’s first short-term sukuk.

HSBC was sole or joint lead manager on international and local-currency bonds and sukuk for Dammam-based energy firm Apicorp; for manufacturer Sabic; for HSBC affiliate Saudi British Bank; and for Bank Al Jazira. The latter’s SR1 billion tier-2 10-year issuance is one of the first sukuk from a Shariah-compliant Saudi bank.

Other firms surpassed HSBC in the local equity league table, but HSBC’s Saudi equity research is among the best. Furthermore, there was just $821 million of issuance in the market in this period, according to Dealogic. The biggest deal – Knowledge Economic City’s $272 million IPO – fell below its issuance price in the secondary market, dampening appetite for IPOs among the local retail investors who dominate the Saudi exchange.

HSBC Saudi Arabia’s financial advisory to Saudi power and telecoms firm Al Babtain resulted in greater progress for local capital markets. In return for the 49% stake held by Singaporean telecoms firm LeBlanc in the two companies’ Saudi joint venture, Al Babtain paid $7 million cash and issued group shares to LeBlanc, via a 5.55% capital increase (valued at a similar amount to the cash payment). This made Al Babtain the first listed Saudi corporate to issue equity to a foreign buyer.

HSBC was mandated lead arranger in the Jubail and Ma’aden projects and the bank remains a dominant player in flow and risk advisory in the kingdom.

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Best bank: National Bank of Abu Dhabi
Best investment bank: Citi

Banks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai continue to be plagued by the aftermath of the emirates’ respective property bubbles.

Dubai banks are moreover particularly exposed to Dubai’s over-leveraged web of government-related corporations. At Dubai’s biggest banks, during the downturn, non-performing loans jumped from 2% to 11.3% of lending. Many fear bad debt will continue to grow, constraining new lending, as more local conglomerates restructure debt, as the property market continues to struggle, and as individuals can no longer delay default. At Dubai’s biggest banks, coverage ratios have already fallen from 96% to 41% on average.

Abu Dhabi has the resources to bail out firms that are systemically or strategically important. But some Abu Dhabi banks have also tripped up on the global and regional crises. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) has had large exposures to regional and local corporate debt restructurings, and suffered a loss of $140 million in 2009.

ADCB has recovered to some degree. In 2010 it posted a profit of $104 million. But this pales in comparison with the $1 billion profit made by National Bank of Abu Dhabi (Nbad) in 2010. In addition, Nbad maintained its profit level between 2008 and 2009. Nbad’s 2010 profit is a 22% increase on 2009’s. The bank also posted increases in assets, loans, and deposits in the period.

Despite the problems in Dubai and their knock-on effects in Abu Dhabi, at March 31, Nbad’s non-performing loans comprised just 2.56% of the loan book, and were 105% covered.

Some criticise Nbad for not being more ambitious in the pace of its growth, but the bank has helped underpin the United Arab Emirates’ financial stability. Moreover, during the 2010-11 period, Nbad expanded its branch network, launched new retail and fund-management products and reorganised its corporate and investment-banking departments into a more integrated structure. The bank’s project and structured finance group has continued to contribute to local and regional economic development, and closed 14 deals in the period.

In Dealogic’s league tables for the UAE, no one investment bank achieved a top-three position for both debt and M&A. UAE equity markets were languid, with just $700 million of issuance. But deals by Citi spanned a variety of clients, UAE geographies and products; Citi’s deals brought the market forward.

Citi acted as structuring and documentation bank in one of the first sukuk liability-management exercises for a sovereign. The government of Ras Al Khaimah issued new $400 million five-year sukuk. Along with consent solicitation for early redemption, the transaction involved one of the first sukuk exchange offers, combined with a cash tender involving multiple securities, currencies and entities of the emirate’s government.

Citi was also joint lead manager in the April 2010 $1 billion five-year bonds for Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (Dewa). This was the first roadshow for a Dubai entity since Dubai World’s debt standstill announcement in November 2009. Amid tales in the international press of an exodus of Dubai’s population, investors needed convincing of the demand for water and electricity in the emirate. But in October Dewa issued a further $2 billion bond, in tranches of six years and 10 years. Citi again acted as joint bookrunner.

Citi managed a $220 million auto securitization for Emirates NBD, the region’s biggest bank by assets. Aside from a true-sale and revolving structure, the deal was also innovative in its guarantee from the Japanese export-credit agency, Jbic.

In M&A, Citi advised US private equity group Carlyle on the sale of $500 million in convertible notes to Abu Dhabi state investment vehicle Mubadala. Citi further helped reduce DP World’s debt, advising on the $1.5 billion sale of 75% of the Australian business of the Dubai ports operator to Citi Infrastructure Investors.

In project finance, aside from acting as structuring bank on an Islamic toll-road financing in Dubai, Citi was sole financial adviser and lead arranger in Emirates Aluminium’s $737 million export-credit-agency financing.

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