Lebanon Businessnews News

SGBL buys LCB assets
SGBL’s board of directors approved acquisition unanimously, LCB’s General Assembly voted for the project by a majority of 76 percent.
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June 23, 2011- Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL) has finalized the acquisition of certain assets and liabilities of the Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB). A statement issued by SGBL said the bank’s board of directors had unanimously approved the project of acquisition during a meeting on Tuesday (June 21). It said the assets purchase will be submitted in the next few days to the Central Bank for approval.

According to the statement, a preliminary review process of accounts and transactions has been implemented by the Higher Banking Commission, SGBL, the high monetary authorities, as well as three international audit firms, in order to ensure the strict conformity of the acquired assets and liabilities with international standards and compliance rules of SGBL and Société Générale (France), its minority shareholder.

SGBL’s board of directors had submitted, in March, a buying offer of certain assets and liabilities of the LCB, which was approved by the Central Bank of Lebanon on March 8.
SGBL is 19 percent owned by Société Générale SA, France. Sources acquainted with the negotiations told An-Nahar that France “has approved the signing of the acquisition contract unconditionally, which affirms that the French shareholder has received positive signs from the US Treasury Department.”

The local daily quoted sources as saying the finalization of the acquisition agreement was held at the LCB headquarters in Beirut and was attended by LCB’s Chairman George Abu Jaoudeh, and General Director Muhammad Hamdoun, as well as SGBL’s Chairman Antoune Sehnaoui and General Director Gerard Garzuel, as well as legal representatives of both parties. According to An-Nahar, the signing occurred on Wednesday (June 22) at 4:30 am, after the LCB’s General Assembly approved the project with 76 percent of votes.

An-Nahar said the acquisition project was hampered by two obstacles, the first internal and technical, related to the financial and executive conditions of the contract, while the second was external and related to the approval of the French shareholder and the US Treasury.

In February 2011, the US Treasury Department accused LCB of involvement in a money-laundering and drug-trafficking operation with ties to Hezbollah. The bank denied the charges.
LCB maintains a network of 35 branches across the country and has an office in Montreal.

Date Posted: Jun 23, 2011
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