Leading the Way in the Gulf: Ahli United Bank Joins the Gulf's Leading Financial Institutions

Global Finance, March 2007 | Go to article overview

Leading the Way in the Gulf: Ahli United Bank Joins the Gulf's Leading Financial Institutions


Ahli United Bank (AUB) has come a long way since its inception in 2000. In just six years Ahli United Bank has grown to become one of the Gulf's leading financial institutions. Formed by the merger of Al Ahli Commercial Bank of Bahrain and the United Bank of Kuwait in London, AUB is now one of the largest commercial banks in Bahrain, and is fast developing into the primary regional bank in the Gulf area, with domestic reach in most countries and plans to build its presence across all markets in the region. The bank's achievements have brought it many accolades, among them "Best Bank 2006, Middle East & Africa" from Global Finance and "Global Bank of the Year 2006, Middle East" from The Banker.

The building blocks are now in place for AUB to reach its goal: developing a branch network in all eight countries bordering the Gulf and acquiring a minimum of 10% cross-border market share. Adel El-Labban, group chief executive officer and managing director, says: "AUB's strategy is to expand through both organic growth and acquisition in order to act as a 'multifaceted financial bridge' between the international financial markets and its Gulf clients."

At present, AUB has a foothold in five of the eight countries of the region. Since its inception, AUB has grown both organically and through acquisition. It has acquired an effective 75% stake in the Bank of Kuwait and the Middle East, which has 10% market share in the Kuwaiti market and it owns a 40% share in Ahli Bank QSC, with 7% of the market in Qatar. AUB has also acquired 49% of the Commercial Bank of Iraq, one of the largest private banks in the country. AUB, its associate banks and other Gulf financial institutions together acquired an 89.3% stake in Delta International Bank (DIB) in August 2006. Established in 1978, DIB is a full-fledged commercial bank offering retail banking, corporate banking, private banking, project and trade finance and treasury services. …

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