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Cedrus set to acquire Standard Chartered as staff issue solved

Central Bank governnor Riad Salameh attends a ceremony "Celebrating Banque du Liban after Half a Century" in Beirut, Tuesday, June 10, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Cedrus Invest Bank is expected to formally acquire the retail operations of Standard Chartered Bank operations in Lebanon, having finalized details including the fate of the employees, a banker said Tuesday.

“Cedrus and Standard Chartered have resolved all the pending matters and the only thing left is some paperwork,” a banker familiar with the talks told The Daily Star.

According to the banker, Cedrus will keep 85 of Standard’s 100 employees and significantly raise the bank’s capital.

With customer deposits of less than $100 million, Standard Chartered decided to sell its retail business in Lebanon due to fierce competition from the well-established banks.

The banker stressed that Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh was aware of the progress of talks between the two sides but had not yet received the official request to acquire Standard Chartered.

The banker declined to say when the agreement between would take place but said it would be soon.

“Cedrus plans to increase the number of branches from three to five and expand the retail operations in this country,” the banker said.

Founded in Beirut in 2011, Cedrus Invest Bank is the largest specialized bank in Lebanon in terms of capitalization, with paid-up capital of $52 million and more than $400 million in assets.

Cedrus Invest Bank was established by two Lebanese bankers: Fadi Assali and Raed Khoury.

Last month, Fransabank acquired Amman-based Ahli International Bank for more than $105 million.

Salameh has encouraged bank consolidation among the Lebanese banks in order to reduce the number of lenders in the country.

Some foreign-owned banks, such as HSBC, have either sold their operations in Lebanon or reduced the number of branches they operate.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 18, 2014, on page 5.

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Summary

Cedrus Invest Bank is expected to formally acquire the retail operations of Standard Chartered Bank operations in Lebanon, having finalized details including the fate of the employees, a banker said Tuesday.

According to the banker, Cedrus will keep 85 of Standard's 100 employees and significantly raise the bank's capital.

With customer deposits of less than $100 million, Standard Chartered decided to sell its retail business in Lebanon due to fierce competition from the well-established banks.


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