Andre Sayegh, Chief Executive Officer, First Gulf Bank.

Andre Sayegh, Chief Executive Officer, First Gulf Bank.

FIRST GULF Bank has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Dubai First, the consumer financial services business, from Dubai Financial Group LLC for AED601 million in cash.

Dubai First, established in 2007 is a leading customer finance company specializing in liability and credit card products. Dubai First has a UAE credit card market share of 4.5% and operates out of its Dubai headquarters and branches and sales offices in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. The company has 464 employees.

This acquisition complements FGB’s strategy of offering more value to an expanding UAE customer base.

André Sayegh, CEO of FGB, said: “We are delighted to welcome the team from Dubai First to FGB.  Dubai First’s experience, deep industry knowledge, consumer relationships and partnerships will enhance our retail capabilities. Together with Dubai First, we will serve our customers better and offer them more value. The innovative ‘First’ spirit of both companies is evident in our names and we shall nurture the Dubai First brand and its portfolio whilst utilising the synergies to grow the business and provide excellent consumer advice, products, opportunities and benefits. As ever we remain committed to supporting all our consumers and stakeholders goals through our strong financial product capabilities.”

“With the full support and advice of KPMG as financial advisor and Norton Rose as legal advisor we were able to conclude this successful transaction” Sayegh added.

Fadel Al-Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Group, said: “Since we launched the business in 2007, Dubai First has performed well, even during the turbulent business cycles of recent years, and has built a solid and sustainable book of business. I am confident that FGB will give Dubai First the right support platform to ensure it continues to grow and build its market share in the UAE.  The sale is a strategic decision for Dubai Group and is part of our stated plan to sell down assets in order to support our broader ongoing restructuring process.  We are pleased to have achieved a solid return on our investment.”

EFG-Hermes acted as sole financial advisor and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as legal advisor to Dubai Group on the transaction.

First Gulf Bank , currently holding the “Best Bank In The UAE” title from both ‘Euromoney’ and ‘The Banker Middle East’ as well as voted ‘EMEA Finance’s’ “Best Local Bank” , is one of the largest full service banks in the country with a portfolio in its Consumer business alone of over AED40 billion. First Gulf Bank will ensure that Dubai First customers retain their existing benefits and branded product yet enjoy additional privileges plus the product, relationship and network benefits of FGB’s operation.

As at the dates of the latest audited accounts the aggregate gross assets of Dubai First amounted to approximately AED700 million.