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Bank of Beirut acquires Luxembourg-based Fortuna Bank

Nov 07

Bank of Beirut acquires Luxembourg-based Fortuna Bank

Deal, subject to regulatory approval, allows Lebanese banking group to expand its European activities

Lebanese financial group Bank of Beirut has announced the acquisition of Luxembourg-based Fortuna Bank, after an agreement was reached with the local bank's board of directors.

This change in shareholder will allow Fortuna Bank, a cooperative company since 1920, to ''develop its activities anchored in the Greater Region and deploy a range of banking services to foreign clients,'' the company said in a statement on Tuesday night.

The acquisition in Luxembourg will allow the Bank of Beirut to expand its European activities in the Grand Duchy, as part of the group's broader plans to grow internationally.

The Lebanese banking group, which offers commercial, corporate, private, investment, asset management and retail banking, has already set foot in Europe, running offices in the United Kingdom, Cyprus and Germany.

Managing Director of Fortuna Bank Jerry Grbic described Bank of Beirut as an ''investor who intends to develop both the regional activity of our bank and its international connections''.

Salim Sfeir, chief executive officer of Bank of Beirut, further confirmed the Lebanese banking group seeks to ''preserve the history and traditions that define Fortuna Bank, while giving it more resources to develop its activities and look at new (business) horizons''.

Before the acquisition can be completed, the deal, whose value was not disclosed, must receive green light from the European Central Bank, the Luxembourg-based financial regulator the CSSF, as well as the Bank of Liban.

Staff roles mantained

Under the agreement, the management of Fortuna Bank, will keep its functions and be responsible for the future development of the bank's activities.

The bank's 26 employees will also mantain their functions and continue to service local and regional customers, the bank confirmed in a statement.

Future plans may include additional recruitment to support the ''organic growth of local activities'' the bank further said.

As a cooperative bank, Fortuna Bank offers a tailor-made personalised service to clients n Luxembourg and the Greater Region. Besides providing daily banking services, it also funds real estate projects and offers investment services to a wide range of private and corporate clients.

The Bank of Beirut has been present in Europe since 2002 through a subsidiary in the United Kingdom, a branch in Cyprus and a branch in Frankfurt.

The bank also boasts a significant presence in Australia through its subsidiary Bank of Sydney, as well as runs regional branches in Oman and representative offices in the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Qatar and Ghana.

It reported total assets of $18.5 billion (€16.2 billion) and equity of $1.7 billion.