Italian bank Intesa to open Abu Dhabi office

The Italian banking group Intesa is preparing to open shop in Abu Dhabi, according to Bloomberg News.

It was not immediately clear if the Italian lender would be opening an office in the emirate’s fledgling financial centre, the Abu Dhabi Global Market on Al Maryah Island.

No one at Intesa immediately responded to questions about the report.

The Abu Dhabi branch would be the only one owned by an Italian bank in the Arabian Gulf that lends to corporations, when the branch becomes operational next month, Bloomberg reported.

The banking group said that it was also opening offices in Doha and Jakarta, bucking the trend of many multinational businesses that have been pulling away from emerging markets as they suffer from lower commodity prices.

Teresio Testa, the head of international network and global industries at Intesa, told Bloomberg that the bank was opening the offices to develop its relations with large companies operating internationally.

Intesa’s international network covers 29 countries serving 1,000 corporate customers with a minimum size of €250 million (Dh1.04 billion) of annual revenue.

Mr Testa said Intesa was hoping to gain more of those international corporate clients through its new offices. The banker said he sees double-digit growth of revenue from international corporate clients this year.

The new offices will be staffed by 20 bankers, but Mr Testa did not give a breakdown of how many bankers each office would have.

Abu Dhabi’s financial free zone on Al Maryah island will be a full-service financial centre that includes offices, shops, residences, hotels and leisure facilities. If Intesa is opening up in the hub, it will be joining other first movers, including Macquarie Capital.

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