Tags: Tomalin | dubai | debt

UAE Bank Chief: World Overreacted to Dubai

Thursday, 03 Dec 2009 07:51 AM

The head of one of the United Arab Emirates' largest banks said Thursday the global sell-off triggered last week by Dubai's debt crisis was overdone.

"The market reaction has been I think very overstated," Michael Tomalin, chief executive of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, told reporters in Hong Kong while announcing the bank's expansion into Asia.

News that Dubai's main investment company, Dubai World, was seeking to delay repaying some of its $60 billion in debt sent markets plummeting last week amid concerns the company's woes might destabilize the world financial system. NBAD's stock has tumbled since then.

The bank's exposure to Dubai World is about $345 million, Tomalin said.

He did not specify the bank's total exposure in the heavily indebted emirate.

NBAD is 70 percent owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest U.A.E. emirate and the seat of the country's national government. The bank, whose conservative practices have made it one of the world's least leveraged, was one of two major domestic lenders that subscribed to $5 billion in bonds issued recently by the government of Dubai.

The bank is opening a branch in Hong Kong and planning others in India, mainland China, Indonesia and other Asian countries. The bank will continue to invest in Dubai, Tomalin said.

"We will lend to clients in Dubai, in New York, in London and Hong Kong, but with care and selectivity," he said.

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The head of one of the United Arab Emirates' largest banks said Thursday the global sell-off triggered last week by Dubai's debt crisis was overdone."The market reaction has been I think very overstated," Michael Tomalin, chief executive of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi,...
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