Lebanon Bank to tie up with BNP Paribas
Dubai, June 23, 2008
Emirates Lebanon Bank, a fully-owned subsidiary of Bank of Sharjah, and BNP Paribas are in the process of filing for regulatory approval in relation with their contemplated partnership in Lebanon.
As per agreements entered into between the parties and which remain subject to the approval of Banque du Liban (Central Bank of Lebanon), the UAE-based bank will be acquiring through its Lebanese subsidiary, Emirates Lebanon Bank, previously Banque de la Bekaa, the activities of the Lebanese branch of Banque Nationale de Paris Intercontinentale, a fully-owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas.
Emirates Lebanon Bank will be 81 per cent owned by Bank of Sharjah with BNPI France holding the balance of 19 per cent.
A collaboration agreement between the Lebanese bank and BNP Paribas at the level of private banking and asset management is also being considered.
Through this acquisition, clients will be able to benefit from a continuing relationship with their bank as well as an enhanced offering of products and services. Management of operations will continue to be handled by staff seconded from BNP Paribas, while existing employees will be awarded a three-year job protection scheme.
Executive director and general manager of Bank of Sharjah, and chairman and general manager of Emirates Lebanon Bank Varouj Nerguizian disclosed that 30 per cent of the capital of the Lebanese bank will be offered at a later stage to a select group of Gulf and Lebanese private investors subject to regulatory approval.
Bank of Sharjah had earlier declared its intention to gradually build a franchise throughout the Middle East region, and in this respect, raised lately the share capital of Emirates Lebanon Bank to $50 million while injecting a cash contribution to capital of $100 million in order to boost equity to $150 million.
Today, the Lebanon operation is considered as a platform for the Bank of Sharjah's future expansion in the Levant where it intends to benefit from exceptionally strong synergies with its Gulf-based clientele.
BNPI has been present in Lebanon since 1944. It engages in commercial banking activities through a network of five branches. At end 2007, it boasted an asset base of around $850 million serving 13,500 individual clients and 1,300 corporates. - TradeArabia News Service