Abu Dhabi: Shareholders of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) and FGB approved the banks’ plans to merge, thus creating the largest bank in the Middle East and North Africa, with Dh655 billion in total assets.

The approvals came in general assembly meetings held by each bank on Wednesday, and pave the way for the banks to merge in the first quarter of 2017. The merger has already been approved by each bank’s board of directors and the Central Bank of the UAE.

The merger still requires approval from international regulators and the UAE market regulator, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA).

Ahead of the general assemblies, FGB’s and NBAD’s share prices jumped on Wednesday 5.42 per cent and 2.81 per cent respectively.

Shareholders from both banks voted in favour of all agenda items at each general assembly meeting including approval of the merged bank’s board of directors.

Share swap

The plan to merge the banks, which was first announced in June this year, will be executed through a share swap, with FGB shareholders receiving 1.254 NBAD shares for each FGB share they hold.

The merged entity will retain the NBAD brand name, with FGB planning to delist its shares off the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in the first quarter of next year. It will account for 27 per cent of market share of the UAE’s banking sector.

NBAD also confirmed on Wednesday reports it has secured a $2 billion (Dh7.34 billion) loan. A Reuters report last month said the bank would use the loan to refinance existing bilateral debt and provide new funding.