US$ 1.5 billion (AED 5.5 billion) earmarked for client partnerships in the Emirates
Dubai, 21st May 2013 - Doha Bank, one of the leading GCC-based banks, announced its intentions to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and corporate clients in the UAE through the Bank's fully licensed branches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, including support for companies in the infrastructure development and construction sectors.
Doha Bank Group CEO, Dr. R. Seetharaman, during a conference held in Dubai said that the Bank is seeking to participate in the resurgence of the UAE which is building its commercial economic platforms at a steady pace after the property market bubble which impacted the UAE.
Dr. R. Seetharaman also added that Doha Bank is earmarking US$ 12 billion (AED 44 billion) for lending to high-potential clients in the GCC between Qatar, The UAE and Kuwait, where the Bank operates full branches. Doha Bank aims to commit about US$ 1.5 billion (AED 5.5 billion) in the UAE focusing on corporate and SME clients.
Dr. Seetharaman said: “Our outlook is based on the UAE now firmly being on a recovery trend, post the financial crisis, and particularly after the consolidation of the property market. Indicators clearly show that general market confidence is slowly returning. Consumer confidence is showing positive trends and UAE indicators on tourism, services, industry, projects and city infrastructure are returning to significant levels. People and institutions are benefiting from increased financial stability. Expatriates and investors are starting to look at the UAE again as a key destination. All these factors combine to stimulate the core SME platform”.
“In the first quarter of 2013, for example, the Dubai Department of Economic Development said there were 26577 commercial license renewals and 4032 new applications in the emirate alone. With Abu Dhabi being one of the leading current destinations in the region for foreign investment, we expect new commercial licensing figures in Abu Dhabi to be along the same proportions against existing businesses. Based on trends in the UAE, a large proportion of these entities can be considered small or medium private businesses vying for market share in this highly competitive environment and seeking advanced partnerships with banks and groups of advisers,” added Dr. Seetharaman.
“SMEs have only recently transitioned as a primary focus area for banks in the region and this has been mainly due to government stimulus and incentives for financial institutions to support this high-risk-high-rewards segment in many parts of the GCC. In the UAE, Doha Bank sees significant organic opportunities, without external stimulus involved in the SME market which plays a pivotal role in the non-oil economy. And due to the strategic location of both Abu Dhabi and Dubai at the heart of this vibrant economic region, we envision growth across a number of sectors including industrial and semi-industrial or manufacturing businesses, infrastructure and construction businesses, consulting sectors and key commercial trade areas. Companies in these sectors are always looking to prove their competitiveness by leveraging economies of scale and knowhow which often requires investment in facilities and skill, coupled with key advisory and financial services covering day-to-day liquidity management, short- and mediu
m-term financial solutions, project-based advisory, transaction structuring solutions and, perhaps in the not too distant future, offer greater equity stakes and raise core capital via alternative and primary investment bourses,” added Dr. Seetharaman.
Doha Bank has already established its SME banking platform in its home market of Qatar with a wide suite of services available to companies seeking to add financial stability and functionality to their operations. These services are also being offered both in the UAE and Kuwait.
Dr. Seetharaman said: “We are looking to participate in this sector which has significant opportunities for GCC-based financial institutions. Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are markets where we are seeking clientele that exemplify quality more than quantity. There are some major sectors such as property and projects development that are still very much underserved from a global advisory perspective including risk advisory, green development standards and corporate liquidity solutions that are based on an ongoing partnership with the client and bringing together a team of expert consultants to meet their needs and mitigate a wide range of risks, as opposed to just a lending-based mandate.
“Doha Bank believes the future of banking particularly in these key sectors will depend on the ability to advise clients on sustainability factors and their ability to manage each project or company's impact and usage of resources to support a greener economy. The brand allegiances alone generated by such responsible practices can boost overall business and brand value significantly. The Equator Principles for environment and social risk for project management identifies many areas that are often neglected when planning master developments or even smaller projects, which cannot continue to be the case. We are aware that many of our most discerning clients recognize this need and are actively seeking ways to minimize these risk factors,” concluded Dr. Seetharaman.
These are just some of the topics that are being discussed during the seminars hosted by Doha Bank on the 21st of May in Dubai and on the 22nd of May in Abu Dhabi under the title “Real Estate, Infrastructure and Urban Visions”, which welcomes SMEs and corporate clients.