Arab Bank buys 19 per cent stake in Libyan bank

Business Materials 14 February 2008 01:24 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The Arab Bank, one of the Arab world's largest banking establishments, on Wednesday purchased a 19 per cent stake in Libya's Al - Wahdah Bank for 210 million euros (305 million dollars), the Arab Bank's chairman Abdul Hamid Shoman announced.

"The takeover agreement entitles the Arab Bank to raise its share in the Libyan bank to a controlling interest of 51 per cent" at a later stage, Shoman added.

By signing this deal, the Arab Bank is staging a comeback to the Libyan banking market after 38 years of absence as part of the country's privatization drive, Shoman said.

The Arab Bank operated in Libya between 1952 and 1970, when all its branches in the country were nationalized by Colonel Moamer Qaddafi's regime.

The Jordan-based Arab Bank won the takeover deal in competition with other four international banks - Societe Generale of France, Attijariwafa of Morocco, Intesa Sanpaolo of Italy and the Arab Banking Corporation of Bahrain.