UAE lender UNB hires JPMorgan for merger talks: sources

FILE PHOTO: A view of a branch of Union National Bank along Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Road in Dubai January 4, 2012. REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro/File Photo

ABU DHABI/DUBAI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi lender Union National Bank (UNB) UNB.AD has hired JPMorgan JPM.N to advise on its merger talks with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) ADCB.AD, three sources familiar with the move said.

The merger, which will also involve unlisted Al Hilal Bank, was announced by the banks in September and is the latest consolidation among state-owned companies in the United Arab Emirates’ capital.

If it goes ahead, a merger of the trio could create an entity with about $113 billion in assets, according to Refinitiv data, and the UAE's third-biggest lender after First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) FAB.AD and Emirates NBD ENBD.DU.

FAB was created by last year’s merger between National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank.

UNB and JPMorgan declined to comment.

Shares of UNB are up about 26 percent year-to-date on expectations over the merger. ADCB has also gained 21 percent.

Last month, UNB reported a 7 percent rise in third-quarter net profit from a year earlier and also said there was no certainty that the merger negotiations would result in a transaction.

Additional reporting by Tom Arnold; writing by Saeed Azhar; editing by Richard Pullin