Press releases 2009
Exchange Welcomes Leading Lebanese Bank
Byblos Bank today became the first Lebanese issuer to list in London for twelve years, when its Global Depositary Shares began trading on the London Stock Exchange. Global Depositary Shares with an initial market value of approximately $80 million have been issued under a sponsored facility and admitted to trading on the Exchange’s Main Market¹.
Semaan Bassil, Vice-Chairman and General Manager of Byblos Bank, said:
“Byblos established this sponsored facility in order to increase liquidity through the listing of the Global Depositary Shares and to promote further transparency for investors.”
Tracey Pierce, Head of Equity Primary Markets, London Stock Exchange Group, said:
“I am delighted to welcome Byblos Bank to our Main Market. This GDR admission demonstrates that despite very difficult market conditions our markets remain open and attractive to international issuers who want to trade alongside their global peers. London is now firmly established as the leading international listing venue for emerging market banks, with Byblos becoming the sixth from the MENA region alone to list here.
“We continue to develop our services in the Middle East, and expect to see more companies from the region join Byblos on the London Stock Exchange when market conditions improve”.
Byblos Bank is one of Lebanon’s leading banks, and has operations in Lebanon, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Armenia, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Iraq, Sudan and Nigeria.
During the past few years London has become the international market of choice for ambitious Middle Eastern companies looking to expand their businesses globally. With the arrival of Byblos, there are now 37 Middle Eastern companies on the London Stock Exchange’s markets.
For further information, please contact:
Alastair Fairbrother London Stock Exchange
Press Office +44 (0)20 7797 1222
Nada C. Tawil Byblos Bank Group
Communication Department +961 1 335 468
Notes to editors
1. Sponsored Issue - Where one or a group of investors obligate themselves to subscribe to the entire offer, leaving no likelihood of the issue being under-subscribed. In this instance, existing Byblos Bank equity worth approximately $80 million is being converted to Global Depositary Shares which are being admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange's Main Market. No new capital is being raised in the transaction.
· About the London Stock Exchange Group:
London Stock Exchange Group is Europe's leading diversified exchange business. It operates Europe's largest and most liquid equity market, holds the number one position in trading ETFs and securitised derivatives, and through its interest in MTS, is the leading platform for the trading of fixed income products.
The London Stock Exchange itself is the world's most international exchange with nearly 700 overseas companies from over 70 countries on its markets. It has consolidated this position in the last three calendar years, having attracted 218 international companies which raised over £32 billion between them. These figures include international companies on AIM, the London Stock Exchange's growth market, which has grown to become the world's most successful market for small and medium sized enterprises with over 1500 companies at the end of 2008.
Following its merger with Borsa Italiana in 2007, London Stock Exchange Group also now offers post-trade services such as netting, clearing and settlement on an efficient and competitive basis, and a comprehensive range of European bond trading services through MTS.
· About Byblos Bank Group:
Byblos Bank is one of the leading banks in Lebanon providing a full range of retail banking, commercial banking, treasury, capital markets and private banking and international banking and trade finance services through its extensive branch network, which is the third largest in Lebanon. Through its overseas banking and other subsidiaries, the Bank maintains a strategic presence in emerging growth markets, particularly in the MENA region, and also conducts a wide range of commercial banking and financial activities in Europe. The Bank was established in 1950 and operates in Lebanon, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Armenia, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Iraq (Kurdistan), Sudan and Nigeria.
Byblos Bank posted net profits of $122m in 2008, up 23% from the previous year. This increase constituted the highest year-on-year profit growth among Lebanon’s top 3 banks. Byblos Bank’s assets reached $11.2bn, increasing by 18.5% from end-2007, which also represented the highest growth in assets among the top 3 Lebanese banks. Deposits reached $8.4bn and grew by 15.2% from end-2007. In the 3rd quarter of 2008, Byblos Bank raised $200m through the offering of 2 million Series 2008 Preferred Shares. This successful issue took place despite the global financial turmoil.
Byblos Bank believes that listing on the LSE will develop opportunities for a larger investor base and create more liquidity for the GDRs. The listing requirements also fall in line with Byblos Bank’s added emphasis on transparency, governance and disclosure.