First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has built up a number of high-level Chinese clients looking to take advantage of its strong presence in the Middle East and its growing authority in Asia. The bank’s list of clients includes China State Construction Bank, China’s state-owned chemical company ChemChina and Jinko Solar, which is the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer and is headquartered in Shanghai.
Trade finance is an area of strength at the bank. Under regional chief executive Clarence Singam-Zhou, FAB has provided structured trade commodity financing deals for China-based Shandong Qingyuan (an oil and lubricants company) and Shandong Fangyuan (a ferrous-metals company) to support their respective supply chains across BRI.
The bank prides itself on its hands-on approach. When FAB was appointed as one of the global coordinators, bookrunners and lead managers for ChemChina’s $6.5 billion bond issue in March this year, the bank took its client on a roadshow to connect the Chinese company with Middle East investors.
While FAB is a leader in BRI-related finance in the Middle East and abroad, the bank is also playing a big role in fostering relationships between Asia and the Middle East through the China Arab Countries Interbank Association – the first multilateral cooperative financial mechanism between China and Arab states – and the UAE-Singapore Business Council.
It is present in 10 countries in the Middle East and Africa, which connect with the bank’s counterparts along the Belt and Road route in Hong Kong and Singapore. The bank is also looking to grow its business in Asia.
Formed through the merger of First Gulf Bank (FGB) and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), First Abu Dhabi Bank became the largest bank in the UAE with $182 billion in assets at the end of 2017. It is also one of the strongest in the region, with a capital adequacy ratio of 17.8% and cost-to-income ratio of 27.7%.