Sfeir is particularly bullish on Australia.
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The Bank of Beirut, as in the case of most leading banks in Lebanon, is keen to strengthen its presence abroad, most notably in Australia, in a bid to diversify its sources of income.Currently, Bank of Beirut is the only Lebanese bank that has ventured into Australia.Bank chairman Salim Sfeir believes that the assets of Bank of Sydney – the latest rebranding of Laiki Bank – will eventually represent a substantial share of Bank of Beirut's consolidated balance sheet. Bank of Sydney already has close to $2 billion in assets, achieved in less than four years.At the same time, he declined to provide projected profits for 2015, given the delicate situation in Lebanon and the region.He said the first priority should be Lebanon's development, adding that the bank's profits would consequently grow. Asked if Bank of Beirut would seek new acquisitions of Lebanese banks next year, Sfeir said it was always open if the conditions were right.Asked about the impact of FATCA on the bank's profits, he said the bank would incur the cost necessary to implement these systems.
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