United National denies merger talk
Abu Dhabi-based Union National Bank's chief executive brushed aside as a "baseless rumour" talk that it was discussing a merger with First Gulf Bank, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
"I assure you that talk about Union National Bank merging with First Gulf Bank or any other bank is only a baseless rumour," Mohammad Abdeen told al-Bayan newspaper.
The lender's fourth-quarter profit will be better than the average of the first nine months, he said, adding that he expected UAE banks to post profit growth of 15-20 per cent in 2007. He did not give details about UNB's profit.
Abdeen said he did not expect cuts in interest rates would hammer customer deposits, as "a large part of the capital [invested abroad] is repatriated and due to an increase in the state revenue from oil increases".
Interest rate cuts "could serve as an incentive for some investors to boost their investments in other vehicles with higher returns", he added.
The UAE, which pegs its dirham to the dollar, cut its over-night repurchase rate by 75 basis points to 3.5 per cent on Wednesday, matching a US rate cut a day earlier. The cut was the fourth since September, 2007. (Reuters)
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