BEIRUT, LEBANON, December 17, 1998 ---
The International Finance Corporation today agreed to make its first equity
investment in a commercial bank in Lebanon, providing US$11 million in
equity for Banque Saradar S.A.L. The agreement is part of IFC's effort
to build up the capital base of domestic banks to help spur the reconstruction
Banque Saradar, a leading Lebanese commercial bank, will use the capital
to increase lending and expand its branch network and operations through
mergers and/or acquisitions.
Mr. Mohsen A. Khalil, the IFC Director for the region who signed the agreement
for IFC, said the project would encourage new ownership in the banking
sector, diversify the sources of capital in the system and increase the
available resources for future expansion and consolidation.
Mr. Mario Saradar, Chairman of the Board and General Manager, attended
the signing ceremony on behalf of Banque Saradar.
IFC is making an initial investment of a US$10 million, which corresponds
to 10 percent of the bank's share capital. In addition, IFC will exercise
its pre-emptive rights in the amount of LL (Lebanese Pound) 1.5 billion
(approximately US$1 million).
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing
world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the
international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and
advice to governments and businesses.