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Lebanon: Crédit Libanais becomes the next regional bank

EFG Hermes acquires 65% of Lebanese lender; Group to expand in commercial banking in Levant, then Africa

Hassan Heikal, EFG Hermes

"There’s no intention to change the Crédit Libanais brand. It’s a well-managed bank. We don’t want to change something that is successful"

Hassan Heikal, EFG Hermes

Audi and Blom dominate Lebanese banking, and these firms have led the regional expansion of Lebanese banks. But with the acquisition of Crédit Libanais by Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes, this might be about to change. Hassan Heikal, chief executive of EFG Hermes, tells Euromoney that Crédit Libanais will be the vehicle for his group’s push into commercial banking across the Middle East.

"One of the things that attracted us to Crédit Libanais was its human resources, its supply of Lebanese commercial-banking talent, which can be used elsewhere in the Arab world," says Heikal.

Call option

On August 14 EFG Hermes agreed to pay $542 million for a 65% stake in Crédit Libanais. There is a call option for an additional 25%, exercisable over the next two years, at the sole discretion of EFG Hermes, and on the same terms. JPMorgan advised EFG Hermes.

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