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Abu Dhabi banks may acquire Barclays’ retail unit in UAE

Two Abu Dhabi lenders have emerged as frontrunners to buy most of Barclays’ retail banking operations in the United Arab Emirates, with a final decision expected next month after a competitive bidding process. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank are vying to take control of the assets after Barclays said in September it would offload a retail portfolio in the Gulf Arab state including credit cards, mortgages, personal lending and deposit-taking operations. Barclays plans to retain its two branches in the UAE, while its wealth management business would not be part of the sale. Around half-a-dozen local and international banks, including Citigroup, Standard Chartered and Commercial Bank of Dubai, had expressed interest in buying the operations.

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