Middle East and Africa: Best Regional Bank for BRI 2020
First Abu Dhabi Bank
First Abu Dhabi Bank’s key strength in the context of this award is not just its robust credit rating, standing at AA- from Fitch and S&P, and Aa3 from Moody’s – although that matters. Nor is it the bank’s implicit government backing – although that matters too.
Rather, it is FAB’s ability to ensure its long-standing network in the Middle East and in Asia works for the benefit of the entire bank and core customers in both regions.
FAB’s capital markets team is particularly valuable in this context, helping many outward-facing China corporations, keen to expand along the maritime and overland sections of the Belt and Road, to raise the money they need by tapping into deep pools of Middle Eastern liquidity.
During the awards period, FAB helped China Orient Asset Management raise $700 million from five-year, senior unsecured bonds, and was integral to ICBC Singapore’s inaugural green bond, a $1.5 billion issue in dollars, renminbi and euros.
The bank, a founder member of the China-Arab Countries Interbank Association, has been a key player in boosting trade flows across the Belt and Road. Under the watch of Asia Pacific chief executive Clarence Singam-Zhou, it has provided or worked on facilities for ChemChina, China Railway, China State Construction and Fosun International, among others – all deals designed to increase investment in the Belt and Road.
Covid-19 has hit every country and every region hard, but in the face of the pandemic, Chinese firms continue to invest heavily in the Middle East in general, and in the UAE in particular, as those countries try to diversify beyond oil and gas and infrastructure, into new sectors such as food, logistics and 5G telecommunications. First Abu Dhabi is proving first choice.