Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Qatar takes 49% stake in Libya's best private sector bank

In mid-April, it was announced that the Qatar National Bank (QNB) group had signed an agreement to buy a 49% stake in the Benghazi-based Bank of Commerce and Development (BDC), widely recognised as the best and most professionally run of Libya's private banks. The BCD's highly respected chairman, Jamal Abdelmalek, indicated that the agreement would be a first step in increasing Qatari interest in the Libyan market.

For its part, the QNB – co-owned by the hugely cash-rich Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and private investors, and operates in 24 countries – says that it will take on back-up and administrative support for BDC as well as engaging in financial transactions of mutual interest. CEO Ali Shareef al-Emadi said that he looked forward to engaging the Libyan market and developing operations in Europe.

The BCD was established in 1993, has 32 branches and 820 staff, and an excellent reputation of being untainted by links to the Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi regime. Being based in Benghazi, it was always viewed as being a regional bank for Cyrenaica which set it apart from the majority of the inefficient and predominantly state-controlled banks.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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