BIT and NECB in merger deal. New entity will hold assets exceeding $1 billion - Lebanon

BIT and NECB in merger deal
New entity will hold assets exceeding $1 billion
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The Banque de L’Industrie et du Travail (BIT) and the Near East Commercial Bank (NECB), a member of the Saradar Group, officially announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), in order to merge the two entities. The process is subject to the approval of the Central Bank (BDL).

The deal entails that each bank will contribute its assets to the new bank upon merger, in addition to a monetary contribution by NECB’s shareholders to the merged bank’s capital holdings.

The new bank will provide a wide range of financial services covering private banking, commercial and retail services. It will operate locally through 19 branches. Total assets will exceed $1.1 billion, while the bank will also benefit from private equity of about $200 million, which will provide growth opportunities, a joint statement said.

The new bank will conduct business in a first stage under the trade name ‘Banque de l’Industrie et du Travail-BIT’.

The main shareholders of the new bank are: Saradar Group (principal Mario Saradar); Carlos Ghosn, Chairman of Renault and Nissan, and partner in the Saradar Group;  Mikati Group (headed by ex-PM Najib Mikati, a Saradar partner); Zürich-based Wiederkehr Associates, an investment office, and NECB shareholder;  the Bustany family (heirs of Emile Bustany, founder of Banque de L’Industrie in 1960); El Khazen family (Fouad el-Khazen and heirs); Mecattaf Group, a diversified group of companies in the finance, pharmaceuticals, and real estate, represented by Nabil Mecattaf; and the Shammas Economic Institute, (principal Issam Shammas).

Fouad El Khazen will be the honorary chairman of the new bank, while Mario Saradar will be the Chairman of the Board and CEO.

BIT deposits reached $622 million, year-on-year growth of 4.4 percent, according to FY 2013 consolidated financial results. Assets were up to $737 million, while loans grew to $224 million, an increase of 14.8 percent. But profits were declining during the last years, less than one million dollars per year. In 2012, profits reached around $1.9 million, due to the sale of some assets. The bank operates 13 branches and has around 240 employees.

Reported by Leila Rahbani
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Date Posted: Jul 04, 2014