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Libya Withdrawing Investments From BNP Paribas, Societe Generale

Libya’s Economic and Social Development Fund is withdrawing investments from French banks including BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA as it shifts attention to its home market.

The state-held fund, which has $12 billion in assets, had about $10 billion invested outside the oil-rich nation, fund chairman Mahmoud Badi said in a speech at a conference in Dubai today.

The capital was “mainly with” Societe Generale and BNP, Badi said. “But right now most of these portfolios are liquidating and we are rethinking our investment outside because there are ample chances to invest inside.”

Badi didn’t provide more information about the assets Libya was selling. Nathalie Boschat, Societe Generale spokeswoman, declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg today. BNP Paribas spokeswoman Julia Boyce didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.

Libya, which ousted dictator Muammar Qaddafi last year, is working to rebuild its depleted infrastructure after years of decline. The country, which has Africa’s largest oil reserves, is returning to its pre-civil war oil output levels faster than expected, the International Monetary Fund said on Nov. 11. Libya has 2.9 percent of reserves globally, according to the BP Statistical review published in June.

BNP rose 0.9 percent to 43.5 euros a share at 1:46 p.m. in Paris, valuing the company at 54.5 billion euros ($71 billion). Societe Generale gained 0.8 percent to 28.75 euros. The main Stoxx 600 Banks index climbed 0.8 percent to 161.85.

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