Beirut, Lebanon, January 27, 2010—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a $100 million equity
investment in Lebanon’s Byblos Bank to help increase access to finance
for small and medium enterprises and to expand the bank’s operations to
frontier countries in the Middle East and Africa.
This investment will help Byblos pursue
its strategy of becoming a significant financial group, with a broader
network of banks and financial institutions in frontier and emerging markets.
IFC also plans to further support Byblos by providing trade finance
guarantees and helping strengthen the bank’s corporate governance.
“IFC’s investment in Byblos Bank shows
IFC’s confidence in the strength of our bank and its management,” said
Dr. Francois Bassil, Byblos Bank Chairman. “Byblos Bank enjoys a high
capital adequacy ratio, both by Lebanese and international standards, and
IFC’s investment will further strengthen our bank’s capital base and
allow us to pursue our expansion strategy on solid grounds.”
Michael Essex, IFC Director for the
Middle East and North Africa, said, “Access to long-term finance for the
private sector in Lebanon remains limited. We hope our investment
can act as a catalyst to bolster confidence and encourage needed investment
in the Lebanese financial sector, which in turn will increase access to
finance for individuals and entrepreneurs.”
Byblos Bank is the third-largest bank
in Lebanon and has 10 overseas locations. It is looking to expand
further into markets in the Middle East and in Africa, particularly in
IFC has been active in Lebanon’s financial
sector in recent years, providing trade finance lines to a number of banks
and investment and advisory services. In fiscal 2009, IFC committed
over $184 million in trade finance to Lebanese banks.
Supporting conflict-affected countries
like Lebanon is an IFC priority. Through integrated investment and advisory
services, IFC helps build the private sector to create jobs, raise living
standards, and reduce poverty.
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively
on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging
markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase
to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing
countries—including by strengthening banks and financial institutions
in the Middle East and North Africa.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation
services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5
billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries
during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About Byblos Bank
Established in 1950, Byblos Bank is one of the leading banks in Lebanon
and is listed on both the Beirut and London stock exchanges. The bank provides
a full range of retail, commercial, private, and international banking,
as well as treasury, capital markets, and trade finance services, supported
by its extensive branch network which is the second largest in Lebanon.
Through its overseas banking and subsidiaries, Byblos Bank maintains a
strategic presence in emerging markets, particularly in the Middle East
and North Africa region, and also conducts commercial banking and financial
activities in Europe. It operates in 11 countries across Europe, the Middle
East, and Africa. For more information, visit www.byblosbank.com.