Newly merged First Abu Dhabi Bank's shares rise in debut trade

A view of a branch of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) along Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Road in Dubai, UAE, February 3, 2010. REUTERS/Mosab Omar/File Photo

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - First Abu Dhabi Bank's NBAD.AD shares rose on Sunday on the first day of trading after the completion of a merger of the emirate's two largest banks.

The merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank to create one of the largest banks in the Middle East and Africa was first announced in June last year.

It will have shareholders’ equity of 98 billion dirhams ($26.7 billion) and a market capitalization of around 111 billion dirhams, Abdulhamid Saeed, group chief executive of the new bank said.

Shares were up 1.0 percent in early afternoon trade.

“This is a transformational moment for Abu Dhabi, the region and beyond and is an extension of the legacy of both banks, which spans over a period of 50 years,” Saeed said in a statement.

The board of directors has decided on the direction of the bank and key priorities in line with the vision and growth ambitions of Abu Dhabi and the UAE, the statement said without elaborating.

“The start of trading on the shares of the new bank should reflect positively on the overall trading on the exchange during the coming period and should attract more investors, whether local or foreign, individuals or institutional,” Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange Chief Executive Rashed al Baloushi said.

Reporting by Stanley Carvalho and Hadeel Al Sayegh; editing by Susan Thomas