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French Version


Fransabank merger is third deal in 5 years - Acquisition of Banque de la Bekaa awaits Central Bank approval (Daily Star)

Fransabank will acquire Banque de la Bekaa for a deal estimated at $28 million. The dossier of the operation is currently being revised by the Central Bank, which is expected to forward the authorization for acquisition by early next week.

The concerned banks have both qualified the transaction amount as being a “good deal.” According to Saradar Investment House, the small-size Banque de la Bekaa has five branches, about 60 employees, and was ranked 36th in 2001 in terms of assets at $160.8 million, and 34th in customer deposits with $143.7 million, for a 0.3 percent market share. Banque de la Bekaa posted around $3.5 million in profits for 2002.

In contrast, Fransabank has 50 branches and ranked sixth in terms of assets with $3.43 billion at the end of March 2003, up 9 percent year on year. Its customer deposits reached $2.67 billion, and its loans totaled $648.6 million, coming in sixth and seventh place respectively. Fransabank posted net profits of $17.82 million in the first quarter of this year, up 90.5 percent from the same period last year.

The purchase of Banque de la Bekaa will increase Fransabank’s active base by some $190 million, out of which $160 million are assets and some $30 million are from the loan portfolio.

Banque de la Bekaa was founded by the Fakhoury family in 1964 and is recognized as a bank specializing in the agricultural sector. Since Fransabank is interested in becoming a banking leader for the agricultural sector, this acquisition will reinforce the bank’s market share in this niche. Fransabank was one of the first credit establishments to position itself in this market by opening branches in South Lebanon in 1950.

The Fakhoury family will be active in the newborn entity’s management and Georges Fakhoury, one of the major shareholders of Banque de la Bekaa, will have a seat in the administration council.

Should the deal go through, this would constitute Fransabank’s third acquisition in five years, as the bank bought out the small-size United Bank of Saudi and Lebanon in October 2001, and Universal Bank at the end of 1998.

Beirut 15-07-2003
Tarek El Zein
The Daily Star



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