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Bank Sharjah, BNP eye private banking JV

Dubai, March 7, 2010

Bank of Sharjah plans to join forces with France's biggest lender BNP Paribas to tap the fast-growing Middle-Eastern market for the very rich, the company's general manager said on Sunday.

The two banks are in the final stages of setting up a joint venture with possibly a 50-50 ownership structure to cover the Middle-Eastern private banking market, Bank of Sharjah's executive director and general manager told Reuters in an interview.

'To tap the potential of the region, you need the local know-how and in order to be credential you need the expertise of a solid bank like BNP Paribas,' said Varouj Nerguizian at the bank's headquarters in Sharjah.

Bank of Sharjah made Dh475 million in full-year net profit in 2009. For 2010, Nerguizian expects Dh550 million ($149.7 million) in net profit, although if regional stock markets remain weak, full-year net profit will be around Dh500 million, he said.

The bank is also considering establishing a European footprint, either by acquiring a small bank or obtaining a licence.

'I think we are going to pursue that shortly ... there is a lot of a business between Europe and the UAE that you can capture through that entity,' Nerguizian said.-Reuters




Tags: France | investment | BNP Paribas | Bank of Sharjah | finance |

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