Ahmad Abu Eideh
CEO MIDDLE EAST OF STANDARD CHARTERED BANK
Jordan 2016 I Finance I Interview
BIOGRAPHY Born in 1969, he holds a degree in Economics from Yarmouk University in Jordan. With 23 years of banking experience, before joining Standard Chartered Bank, he held other prominent senior positions in several international and regional banks.
I BELIEVE JORDAN IS A COUNTRY WITH GREAT POTENTIAL AND ONE OF THE BEST PLACES FOR INVESTMENTS IN OUR REGION.
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF STANDARD CHARTERED IN JORDAN?
Standard Chartered PLC is a leading international banking group, with more than 84,000 employees and a 150-year history in some of the world’s most dynamic markets. Standard Chartered is the first bank in the Kingdom, through our acquisition of Grindlays Bank and their earlier acquisition of the “Ottoman Bank” whose operations started in 1925. With a 91 year history in Jordan, we remain deeply committed to growing and investing in our franchise. Our brand is about commitment.
WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY TO CONTINUE TO LEAD THE MARKET IN CUSTODIAL AND CLEARING SERVICES ?
In 2014, we identified a gap in the Jordanian market for an international custody provider that can service the increasing international needs of the market. Accordingly we worked with the regulator and depository authorities in Jordan to provide tailored solutions to meet unique needs in the securities services domain in Jordan. The launch of custodial and clearing services further emphasizes our commitment to the Kingdom. Our extensive experience and history in the region allow us to provide both local knowledge and global expertise to support our clients’ operations. We continue to invest in our systems and human resources to keep pace with the growing demand for world-class custodial services. Standard Chartered’s custody offering gives customers a single entry point to access custody services in multiple markets. Standard Chartered Bank has been named as winner for the SubCustodian Bank of the Year in Jordan Award 2015 during The Asian Banker Financial Markets Awards Program.
THE BANK’S PRIVATE EQUITY ARM HAS RECENTLY INVESTED IN TWO COMPANIES IN JORDAN. CAN YOU TELL US MORE?
Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) is the private equity arm of Standard Chartered Bank and it invests in companies with a potential of growth capital and buyouts. SCPE focuses on companies located in Asia, Africa or the Middle East. Since its inception in 2002 it has invested about $7 billion in over 100 companies. In 2015, a consortium led by SCPE has invested $175 million for a significant minority stake in FINE, the region’s leading brand in hygienic paper products and one of the most recognised facial and personal tissue brands in the Middle East and North Africa. The majority of the proceeds will be used to fund the expansion of the company’s production capacity given the robust growth in core markets and opportunities in new markets. This is SCPE’s sixth investment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), its second investment in a Jordanian headquartered company, and takes overall MENA direct investments to $560 million.
SCPE has invested $35 million into the acquisition of a significant minority stake in Al Jazeera Agricultural Company which is the only fully integrated poultry and chicken feed producer and distributor in Jordan. The proceeds will be used to help position Al Jazeera to achieve its robust growth plans and provide strategic insight to support its envisaged geographical expansion. These partnerships are examples of Standard Chartered’s continuous efforts to offer best-in-class products and services that suit the needs of our clients. These investments further demonstrates our commitment to support the national economy by focusing on long-term strategic relationships with major organizations in Jordan.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO FOREIGN INVESTORS INTERESTED IN JORDAN?
I believe Jordan is a country with great potential and one of the best places for investments in our region. Jordan is rich in terms of it’s strategic assets. The Jordanian Government has, across its successive terms, undertaken numerous serious measures to review and enhance the economic and financial legal framework governing the investment process in order to take advantage of the available opportunities to increase economic growth and promote economic development. Despite a number of external threats, Jordan has remained quite resilient. Jordan has maintained continuous stability, moderation and security in a region prone to potential volatility. Jordan is a fourth generation monarchy with consistent and continuous foreign and internal policies, a democratically elected Parliament and a visionary leader dedicated to progressive reforms of political, economical, fiscal, legal and social significance.