Middle East and Africa: Best Regional Bank for BRI 2019
First Abu Dhabi Bank
First Abu Dhabi Bank consolidated its position as the leading Middle Eastern bank for Belt and Road financing during the awards period from 2018 to 2019.
FAB was created when First Gulf Bank merged with National Bank of Abu Dhabi, a process completed in December.
It offers wide coverage of Asian markets thanks to its well-established presence in five key countries. As well as a regional office in Singapore and a full-service branch in Hong Kong, the bank has branches in India and Malaysia, and representative offices in Shanghai and Seoul.
FAB has leveraged this regional network to support the overseas expansion and globalization of Chinese customers and to facilitate trade flows across the Belt and Road network.
In the current awards period, the bank extended bilateral facilities to firms including China National Building Material, Shandong Qingyuan Group and China National Forestry Commission to develop their trading capacity with the BRI ecosystem.
It also acted as mandated lead arranger for syndicated loans to Chinese borrowers from a range of sectors, including commodities, pharmaceuticals, real estate and technology.
In debt capital markets, FAB acted as bookrunner on the two dollar tranches – worth $1.5 billion in total – of ICBC’s landmark green bond in April. The deal was the first in this format designed to finance and refinance assets along the Belt and Road network.
FAB supported BRI-related infrastructure development in the Middle East, providing financing across multiple projects to China Railway and China State Construction. The bank’s role was recognized at the second Belt and Road Bankers’ Roundtable in Beijing in April, hosted by ICBC; FAB was the only Middle Eastern bank represented at the event and its Asia chief executive Clarence Singam-Zhou was a panel speaker alongside Chinese regulators and other leading BRI participants.