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IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program Welcomes Its First Member From Lebanon


In Cairo, Egypt:
Souleymane Traore

Phone: + 1 (202) 579-6565


In Washington, DC:

Rita Jupe

Phone: + 1 (202) 458-8967

E-mail:  
rjupe@ifc.org


Beirut, Lebanon, October 25, 2005 The International Finance Corporation today announced that Banque Libano-Française SAL has become the first bank in Lebanon to join its Global Trade Finance Program.  Banque Libano-Française SAL is one of the leading private commercial banks in the country.

The Global Trade Finance Program supports trade with emerging markets worldwide and promotes the flow of goods and services between developing countries. IFC provides guarantee coverage of bank risk in emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand their trade finance transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks and to enhance their trade finance coverage.

Michael Essex, IFC’s Acting Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program will support Banque Libano-Française’s expanding trade finance business. The increasing number of participant banks in the program paves the way for countries like Lebanon to increase their share of global trade through this wide network of correspondent banks.”

IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program offers confirming banks partial or full guarantees against underlying trade instruments and covers the payment risk of participating issuing banks. The program allows issuing banks to increase the volume and value of trade transactions with enhanced tenors and access to competitive pricing terms.

Farid Raphaël, Banque Libano-Française SAL’s Chairman-General Manager, said, “Banque Libano-Française has always been a pioneer in financing the private sector in Lebanon.  By joining IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program, we will expand once again our network of correspondent banks, which creates new opportunities for our clients.”

The announcement came during a signing ceremony in Beirut on October 25, chaired by His Excellency, Sami Haddad, Minister of Economy and Trade, Government of Lebanon.

IFC’s first engagement with Banque Libano-Française was in 1996 with an eight-year credit line for industrial and housing loans for Lebanese private sector businesses and individuals.

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

Banque Libano-Française SAL started its commercial banking operations in 1930 as branch of a French bank, the Compagnie Algerienne de Credit et de Banque, which became later the Compagnie Française de Credit et de Banque (CFCB).  In 1967, the branch became a bank established under the Lebanese Law. The bank’s primary focus is on short- and medium-term lending to support the private sector companies and international trade, and is one of the leading service providers in retail and private banking. The bank will continue to be active in these sectors and to diversify its product offering catering to the retail sector and consumer banking as well as to its large and medium size companies and professionals. The trade finance activities target the various industries and sectors of the Lebanese economy.  BLF is considered as one of the top banks in Lebanon, enjoying very high credit quality, as reflected in its strong balance sheet figures. The bank maintains strong correspondent banking relationships with globally respected banks and is an active participant in various multilateral trade facilitation programs provided by agencies such as ATFP and IFC. The Global Trade Finance Program will help importers and exporters specifically in respect of transactions with longer tenors.

As of June 30 2005, Banque Libano-Française SAL had total assets of LBP 5,266,152 million (US$ 3,493 million), a deposit base of LBP 4,574,121 million (US$ 3,034 million), and advances of LBP 1,823,482 million (US$ 1,209 million).

As at year end 2004, Banque Libano-Française SAL had total shareholders equity (excluding net profits for the year) of LBP 378,113 million (US$ 251 million) and pre-tax profit of LBP 33,419 million (US$ 22.2 million). For more information, visit
www.eblf.com

In Beirut, Lebanon:
Tania Rizk Nacouz
Banque Libano-Francaise
Tel: + (961) 1 791332 ext. 1457