ADS strikes €150m bookrunning deal with German media company

ADS Securities, the Abu Dhabi-based brokerage that specialises in foreign exchange trading, has announced that it was the joint lead manager and bookrunner for a €150 million (Dh615.2m) bond issue for the German media company RNTS.

Claus Nouveau-Nikolajsen, the head of global markets and investment banking at ADS Securities, said that his company – unlike many of its competitors at home – has in recent years focused on being an investment bank with global reach. Mr Nouveau-Nikolajsen said it had made several similar deals in the past couple of years, but this was the first one it had chosen to broadcast.

Earlier this month, reports said that ADS was an adviser on a potential US$1 billion bond issue by Etihad Airways. ADS declined to comment on the reports.

Mr Nouveau-Nikolajsen said that while ADS Securities started its business in 2011 to fill in a time zone gap, branching out into the world of securities underwriting and structured products has become a more attractive proposition given Abu Dhabi’s ambition to create an offshore financial centre, the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

“Over the last three years, ADS is definitely moving more towards becoming a full-service investment bank,” he said. “The company has been growing into different divisions. The forex brokerage division is still the foundation of the company. Three years back we added the global markets division, and now we have the biggest derivative desk in the region.”

The company last year opened new offices in Singapore and London.

Nigel Sillitoe, the managing director of the Dubai-based financial consultancy Insight Discovery, said that while it was a good idea for ADS to position itself ahead of the launch of ADGM, the UAE’s investment banking field was a crowded one.

“It looks like they are trying to diversify their revenue streams, but UAE is pretty over-investment banked,” he said. “They might not all be fully fledged, but they are parts of operations such as Shuaa [Capital] or EFG-Hermes or Arqaam [Capital]. It’s amazing how many there are. It’s like private banking, but it doesn’t stop new entrants from having a go.”

Abu Dhabi’s financial free zone on Al Maryah island will be a full-service financial centre that includes offices, shops, residences, hotels and leisure facilities.

ADGM said this month it would begin accepting licence applications from non-financial companies seeking to do business on Al Maryah Island. Existing tenants with private-limited or branch office legal status can apply.

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