Saudi Weighs More Bank Mergers
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East|1 January, 2019

Gulf bank consolidation trend gathers pace with Saudi plans.

Dinesh Nair, Matthew Martin and Archana Narayanan
Saudi Arabia is exploring potential mergers to boost its financial services industry after the combination of Saudi British Bank and Alawwal Bank, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The kingdom’s main sovereign wealth fund, which owns stakes in some of the biggest lenders, is weighing which banks could be merged to increase scale and competition, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. Authorities are also likely to look favorably upon potential mergers among banks outside the state’s control.

Shortly after the Bloomberg report, National Commercial Bank, the kingdom’s largest, announced the start of merger talks with Riyad Bank. A deal would create a lender with $182 billion in assets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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