Lebanon's largest bank merger signed between Banque Audi and Bank Saradar

Published March 30th, 2004 - 02:00 GMT

Lebanon's Banque Audi has bought Banque Saradar in a $159 million cash and equity deal, to create the country's largest banking group by assets. The operation remains subject to the approval of authorities at the Central Bank of Lebanon. 


The financial architecture of the agreement consists of the acquisition of all of the shares of Banque Saradar by Banque Audi, against a cash payment of $100 million together with the issuance of new shares, dedicated to the shareholders of Banque Saradar, equivalent to nine percent of the total number of shares of the new entity.  


According to the merger agreement, the two institutions shall maintain their independent legal status and will continue to operate separately, while becoming part of one bank: Audi-Saradar Group.  


Based on year-end 2003 figures, the consolidated assets of the new group amount $12.44 billion when including fiduciary deposits, security accounts and assets under management. Consolidated deposits stand at $7.56 billion and loans at $1.97 billion. Shareholders' equity amounts to $575 million, reported a press release.  


Banque Saradar will become the private bank of the group. Audi Investment Bank will cover the activities of corporate and investment banking. Banque Audi will be the commercial and retail bank of the Group.  


According to Banque Audi, the operation is expected to benefit the Lebanese economy, the Lebanese banking sector, the customer base of both banks and their respective shareholders and staff. The consolidation of the Lebanese banking industry and the emergence of large national banking entities will contribute to the improvement of the economy's overall efficiency and the reinforcement of its banking industry, thus ensuring a better positioning on the regional financial chessboard.  


Given the existence of two affiliates in France, a request to merge the two entities will be presented to Banque de France, following the closing of the agreement. The merger would result in the creation of Banque Audi Saradar (France). — (menareport.com) 



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