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Souria Holding, Banque Bemo Sign on Jumeirah Deal, SANA Says

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Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Syria’s Souria Holding signed an agreement with Banque Bemo Saudi Fransi, the country’s largest private bank, to lead a syndicated loan for a real-estate project in Damascus, the official Syrian Arab News Agency said.

Local and foreign banks will be invited to invest in the Jumeirah Abraj Souria project, which is to include residences, offices, commercial space and a five-star hotel, the agency reported today. Souria Holding is a diversified investment company based in the Syrian capital.

Syria is encouraging the development of private businesses in its state-dominated economy. The country opened its first stock exchange in 2009 and aims to attract as much as $55 billion in foreign direct investment over the next five years, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdallah Dardari said on Sept. 24.

The International Monetary Fund has urged Syria to speed its transition to a market-based economy while reducing its dependence on the oil industry. The country is trying to reverse a decline in its crude production, which peaked at 600,000 barrels a day in 1996. The government has forecast that production will drop to 380,000 barrels a day this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nayla Razzouk in Beirut at nrazzouk2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai at mchmaytelli@bloomberg.net

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