HSBC in Talks With Beirut’s Blom to Sell Lebanese Business

  • CEO unveiled strategy last year to reduce bank’s operations
  • HSBC employs 200 people in Lebanon with three branches

HSBC Holdings Plc, the London-based lender scaling back its global presence, has discussed plans to sell its Lebanese business with Beirut-based Blom Bank SAL.

No binding agreement has been reached and there is no certainty it will be, HSBC said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. In a separate statement, Blom Bank confirmed it has held talks with HSBC. No further details were provided by the banks.

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

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 percent stake in Saudi British Bank and a 49 percent 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. It offers a full range of banking services to international retail and corporate clients, the bank said in the statement.

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