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BNP Paribas to Continue With Bahrain Operations, Durand Says

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Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- BNP Paribas SA will continue operations in Bahrain, said Jean-Christophe Durand, the Paris-based lender’s head for the Middle East and Africa.

If the bank had taken a decision to pull out it would have informed the central bank, Durand said in a phone interview yesterday. “We haven’t done that.” Durand was responding to speculation that the bank may quit Bahrain after the Persian Gulf nation witnessed political unrest.

BNP Paribas, which has its regional headquarters in Bahrain, last year set up backup operations in Dubai as part of its policy to establish these centers worldwide, Durand said.

Societe Generale SA said last week it will move its private banking office in Bahrain to the United Arab Emirates as the French lender seeks to cut costs.

AXA Insurance Gulf’s revenue in Bahrain grew more than 10 percent last year amid the unrest, Jerome Droesch, chief executive officer for the Gulf and the Middle East, said in a phone interview from Dubai today, without giving details.

The company, which has its regional headquarters in the island nation, increased its staff by 5 percent to 100 last year, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Donna Abu-Nasr in Manama at dabunasr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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