HSBC Reaches Agreement for Sale of Lebanese Unit to Blom Bank

  • HSBC operates 3 branches in Lebanon, to keep private banking
  • Blom Bank says it will release statement later today on topic

HSBC Holdings Plc, the London-based lender scaling back its global presence, reached an agreement to sell its Lebanese business to Blom Bank SAL.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the first half of 2017 and is subject to approval from Banque du Liban, Blom Bank said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. HSBC will continue to operate its private banking business in the country, two people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.

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.

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.

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