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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is hiring bankers from rival firms Citigroup Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc as the U.S. lender seeks to expand its business in the Middle East amid a surge in deals from the region.

Jassim AlSane, a senior Citigroup banker, will join Goldman Sachs’ Dubai office in November as managing director and the co-head of investment banking operations for the Middle East and North Africa. Also, Omar AlZaim is joining the bank as an executive director and the head of investment banking for Saudi Arabia, according to a spokesman for the bank. 

The hirings come as deal activity picks up in the Middle East, fueled by governments and state-owned firms looking for new ways to raise money and diversify their economies after last year’s slump in revenue from oil sales. 

Mergers and acquisitions activity in the Middle East and Africa region has more than doubled this year to about $125 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, boosted by deals like a $12.4 billion stake in Saudi Aramco’s oil pipelines. 

Goldman Sachs is also beginning to win new business in Abu Dhabi after it was sidelined by some of the emirate’s biggest firms about two years ago following a lawsuit by wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co. to recover losses from its dealings with Malaysia’s 1MDB fund. 

Representatives for Citigroup and HSBC declined to comment.

Deal Pipeline

Goldman Sachs is poised for a lead role in the potential initial public offering of Emirates Global Aluminium in Abu Dhabi, a deal which could value the business at more than $15 billion, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News on Thursday. It’s also working with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise Saudi Aramco on the sale of a stake in a subsidiary that controls its natural gas pipelines, people familiar told Bloomberg in July, and was one of the joint bookrunners on Qatar Petroleum’s $12.5 billion bond sale the same month.

AlSane will join Goldman Sachs after spending more than 13 years at Citigroup, where he was most recently a managing director in the investment banking division. AlZaim will start in the autumn and will be based in Riyadh in his new role. He will replace Eyas AlDossari, who left the bank earlier this year to join the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund. 

At Goldman, AlSane will work together with Selma Hassan, who was appointed as the bank’s head of MENA investment bank in 2019, to help boost the bank’s business with sovereign wealth funds and large corporates. 

AlSane began as an analyst at Citigroup in 2008, before rising to become a managing director last year, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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