IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the IFC Capitalization Fund, managed by the IFC Asset Management Company, have signed agreements to provide subordinated loans of $150m for 10 years to Bank Audi sal, the largest bank in Lebanon.
The loans will expand Bank Audi’s capital base and support its regional growth plans, strengthening economic integration between developing economies and creating jobs.
A cornerstone of IFC’s strategy in the MENA region is to support the growth of South-South investments in order to stimulate economic development. Bank Audi is seeking to solidify its position as the leading bank in Lebanon while scaling up its lending operations in neighboring economies, such as Turkey and Egypt, thereby stimulating cross-border investment and trade activity across the region.
“Bank Audi is very pleased to strengthen its partnership with IFC and the IFC Capitalization Fund. This investment in Lebanon is a positive sign for the country’s resilience and the region’s growth potential, and highlights the opportunities for sustainable investments, even in these difficult times,” said Samir Hanna, Group CEO of Bank Audi. “This partnership with IFC will also help us strengthen our regional banking platform, in particular with regard to expanding financial access to underserved segments, such as small and medium enterprises.”
In December 2013, IFC provided a $75m financing package to Odeabank in Turkey, a fully owned subsidiary of Bank Audi.
“This new investment will support Bank Audi in its expansion plans both inside and outside Lebanon, thereby increasing critical trade flows and investment within the region,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Following the investment in Odeabank, the transaction confirms our support of Bank Audi, a strategic partner for IFC in MENA.”
Marcos Brujis, Head of the IFC Capitalization Fund, said, “This is our first investment in Lebanon and we are very pleased to provide capital to Bank Audi as it expands its footprint across the MENA region and Turkey.”
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