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IFC INVESTS IN LEBANESE COMMERCIAL BANK


Jannette Esguerra
Phone:(202) 458-5204
Fax:(202) 974-4384
E-mail:jesguerra@ifc.org


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 of Lebanon.
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.