World Business Quick Take


Wed, Apr 24, 2019 - Page 10


Alinma ‘open to’ merger

Alinma Bank would be open to a merger if a deal adds value for shareholders, CEO Abdulmohsen al-Fares said yesterday. “Mergers and acquisitions are part of a growth wave,” al-Fares said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “So we are working and looking at it closely.” The kingdom’s banking landscape is changing with lenders exploring mergers. Its biggest lender, National Commercial Bank, in December last year announced the start of talks with Riyad Bank. The potential deal would follow the US$5 billion combination of HSBC Holdings PLC affiliate Saudi British Bank and Alawwal, which was backed by Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC.


Islamic Bank mulling buy

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, the nation’s biggest Islamic lender, is weighing the possible acquisition of Noor Bank. The board has resolved to allow the bank “to explore the possible acquisition of Noor Bank and to revert to the board with findings within three weeks,” it said in a statement to the stock market. Abu Dhabi is in the process of merging three of its banks after combining two of its biggest lenders in 2017.


Strike drags forecast

Dutch-Belgian supermarket retailer Royal Ahold Delhaize NV lowered its full-year forecast due to an 11-day strike at its Stop & Shop chain in the US that drew support from several Democratic presidential candidates. The retailer yesterday said that it reached a tentative agreement with five local units, allowing employees to return to work on Monday. The strike had affected 246 of Stop & Shop’s 415 stores, some of which were visited by presidential candidates, including US senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Ahold Delhaize lowered its outlook for underlying earnings per share growth to a low single digit from a high single digit. The retailer also said that it expects its adjusted annual operating margin to be slightly lower than last year. Compensation for future workers was a flashpoint in the strike, with Ahold Delhaize seeking to cut costs partly by providing less-generous terms for employees who join Stop & Shop in the years ahead. While unionized companies battling non-union competitors have sought such “two-tier” arrangements in all sorts of industries, some unions that have acceded to them have since battled successfully to phase them out.


Barclays to cut bonuses

Barclays PLC plans to cut bonuses for investment bankers in a bid to improve performance and ward off activist investor Edward Bramson, the Financial Times reported. Bonuses for the first quarter at the underperforming investment bank division might decline by double digits from a year earlier, the newspaper reported, citing people it did not identify who were briefed on the plans. The payments are to be more closely tied to performance as the London-based bank seeks to cut costs, the Financial Times said. Barclays CEO Jes Staley has pushed a strategy of expanding the firm’s investment-banking operations — a plan that has come under increased pressure since Bramson’s Sherborne Investors began buying up shares and agitating for change. The bonus shake-up is part of efforts to oppose Bramson before Barclays’ annual meeting on Thursday next week, the newspaper reported. The investor is seeking to win a seat on the bank’s board, a move that directors have opposed.