Bank of Beirut is set to acquire 85% of the shares of Laiki Bank Australia in a bid to expand into Asia Pacific.
“We plan to build on these foundations in the years ahead and to reinforce the already existing indelible links between us.”
The transaction has already been approved by regulatory authorities in Lebanon, Australia and Cyprus, the country of Laiki’s parent business Marfin Popular Bank.
Bank of Beirut’s objective is to offer trade finance services between Australia and the Middle East.
While the exact price being paid has not been made public, a spokesperson for Bank of Beirut tells GTR: “[The] price to be paid is a premium of book value to take into consideration the bank’s goodwill.”
After the transaction is complete, Bank of Beirut will have a network of 65 branches, with 10 of those in Australia.
The vast majority will be in Lebanon, while two will remain in the UK, Germany and Oman and one branch in Cyprus.
The consolidated balance sheet will be around US$9bn, with US$6.9bn in deposits.
The transaction will also see the equity capital of Laiki Bank double, pushing it into a stronger position in Australia.
James Wakim, formerly chief executive officer of Arab Bank Australia, will head up Laiki Bank through the change.
“The bank has established an excellent reputation in the banking sector and has catered extremely well to the Greek and Cypriot communities in Australia for many years,” Wakim says.
“We plan to build on these foundations in the years ahead and to reinforce the already existing indelible links between us,” he adds.
Salim Sfeir, chairman and general manager of Bank of Beirut, says: “Entering the Australian banking sector is a direct materialisation of our strategy to expand outside Lebanon and serve our customers wherever they are. I have absolute confidence that the operational integration process will proceed very smoothly.”