HSBC to sell Lebanese unit to Blom Bank

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 3:24am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 3:24am

HSBC Holdings Plc, the London-based lender scaling back its global presence, reached an agreement to sell its Lebanese business to Blom Bank SAL.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the first half of 2017 and is subject to approval from Banque du Liban, Blom Bank said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. HSBC will continue to operate its private banking business in the country, two people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.

Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver announced a three-year strategy last year to shrink HSBC’s sprawling operations and reduce annual costs by US$5 billion, pledging to cut 25,000 employees. HSBC was present in 71 countries at the end of 2015, down from 87 in 2011.

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In the Middle East, HSBC operates in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Algeria. In Saudi Arabia, the bank holds a 40 per cent stake in Saudi British Bank and a 49 per cent share in HSBC Saudi Arabia.

A planned sale of its unprofitable Turkish unit was scrapped earlier this year after the bank struggled to find a buyer, people with knowledge of the matter said in February.

HSBC Lebanon was established in 1946 and operates three branches in the country, employing around 200 people.