Sunday, March 7, 2010

NBAD Requests Cancellation of Approval to Buy Back Shares


A rather curious announcement over at the ADX.  The UAE SCA agreed to NBAD's request to cancel its previously granted permission to buy back up to 10% of its shares.

Why is this strange?

NBAD had obtained permission earlier from the SCA to re-purchase its own shares.  The decision whether to purchase shares or not was entirely in NBAD's hands. 

In other words, it needed no official sanction not to purchase it shares.  And therefore did not need to obtain cancellation of the authorization.

As you'll recall, the IMF had expressed some concern about the capital levels of UAE banks.  Also when the government has given you "rescue" capital, it would be a bit ungrateful if you were to buy out your existing shareholders.  I suspect that the Central Bank had a quiet word with NBAD to encourage them to get the cancellation.  In that way the CBUAE does not have to rely on the discretion of NBAD not to repurchase its shares.

Since NBAD is one of the more conservative local banks, if I'm correct other banks with similar permissions may suddenly develop a CBUAE-sparked desire to cancel them.

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