Stock - DIB \ Dubai Islamic Bank
The H1-2023 financials provided enough ballast for all of the UAE's blue-chip banks on key numbers. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: The spreading out of UAE’s biggest financial institutions into overseas markets continues, with Dubai Islamic Bank taking a stake in a group that owns a digital bank in Turkey. DIB will acquire 20 per cent shareholding across the T.O.M. Group with an option to increase this to 25 per cent within 12 months.

The Turkish entity owns T.O.M. Katılım Bankası A.Ş. (the first licensed digital retail bank in the country), T.O.M. Pay Elektronik Para ve Ödeme Hizmetleri A.Ş. (an e-money company) and T.O.M. Finansman A.Ş. (specializing in developing digital products) and their subsidiaries.

“Central to our growth ambitions has been the bank's ability to effectively formulate winning strategies amidst shifting industry dynamics,” said Dr. Adnan Chilwan, DIB Group’s CEO. “Our entry into the Turkish banking sector through the investment in a digital financial group represents this dynamic approach to an ever-evolving market environment.”

A major presence in financial services
Turkey's T.O.M. Group was established by the Aydın Group shareholders. The latter operates one of the 'largest retail ecosystems in Turkey' through their four flagship businesses.

"The partnership we have established with DIB in the early stages of T.O.M. Group’s journey is highly encouraging and shows that T.O.M. Group is on track with its mission to provide affordable financial services to its customers," said Onur Özkan, CEO.

This week had already seen the announcement by Abu Dhabi National Insurance Co. to spend SR499 million for a 51 per cent stake in a leading Saudi insurer.

The top tier UAE banks all have fairly well established presence in key markets, with Emirates NBD and FAB being in Saudi Arabia. Emirates NBD also owns Turkey's Denizbank, the country's fifth largest. More recently, Mashreq launched its digital banking services in Pakistan.

DIB has long held the view that Turkey was an attractive investment destination for a financial services institution, particularly for an Islamic bank over the medium- to long-term

- Dr. Adnan Chilwan of DIB Group

An entrenched presence in Turkey

DIB has a longstanding presence in the country, offering legacy banking services for over 15 years. In fact, it is 'one of the largest lenders from the GCC', according to Chilwan. "This investment in T.O.M. Group reiterates our commitment to the country and more so to the consumer banking sector. Turkey holds a pivotal position in our growth strategy, considering the sizable market dynamics and the opportunities we foresee in digital banking and financial technology sector."