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IFC $100 Million Investment in Lebanon’s Byblos Bank Increases Access to Finance


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa, IFC
Phone: +202 24 619 140
E-mail: RMustafa@ifc.org
 
In Beirut
Nada Tawil, Byblos Bank
Phone: +961 1 335 200 ext. 301
Email: ntawil@byblosbank.com.lb


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 frontier regions.

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.


About IFC

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.