Finance articles

Banking on reform – Egypt’s BOA sold

Banking on reform – Egypt’s BOA sold

In a deal considered to be the largest divestment of Egyptian state assets to date, the government in Cairo last month completed the sale of Bank of Alexandria (BOA) – Egypt’s fourth largest bank – to Italy-based Sanpaolo IMI, generating over $1.6 billion in revenues for the state. The proceeds are expected to be used

Bank capital increase

Lebanese banks have increased their capital significantly over the last decade, as consolidated equity moved from less than $500 million in the early 1990s to slightly more than $6 billion today due to external capital increases, capital injections from existing shareholders and, above all, organic growth. Indeed, the significant profitability of Lebanese banks during the

A waste of space

Since its independence, Lebanon has always been gold rich. In fact, during the prosperity years of the 1960s and early 1970s, the country was a net buyer of gold, increasing its gold reserves to a total of 9.22 million ounces today. Lebanon is considered to have the largest gold reserves among Arab countries and is

An idiot’s guide to hedge funds

As a follow up to recent articles published in this magazine on fund managers, such as Philippe Jabre and Marc Hochar, and the numerous mentions in these articles of hedge funds, we thought we should shed some light on the meaning or definition of hedge funds, their origins as well as their characteristics. In the

Listing to live

When implemented sometime during 2008, the Basel II Capital Accord will demonstrate that the entire Lebanese banking sector will be in need of extra capital to cover up the underlying risk of their assets. Most banks are expected to see a drop in their capital adequacy ratio (equity divided by risk weighted assets) from an

Mena- GCC securitisation General Issues

Over the last couple of years the MENA and GCC markets have started to push for more diversity in their financial activities. Securitisation has emerged as a catalyst and is experiencing notable growth that has already materialised in markets like Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries. Some specificities related to these markets and

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again

Back in September 2005, this magazine published an article about the possibility of holding a donors’ conference in Beirut in December 2005. In the same article, the magazine expressed serious doubts as to the conference taking place in the medium-term, let alone in 2005. The main reasons for these doubts were built on the fact

Jihad Azour – Minister of Finance

E How badly were the country’s public finances affected by this year’s political upheaval? It had a negative impact on public finances, although the political upheaval had already started making itself felt on the economy before the assassination of [former premier] Rafik Hariri. His death and the ensuing events exacerbated them. The impact manifested itself

High Liquidity Saves the day

2005 has been a testing year for Lebanese banks. But it could have been a whole lot worse for the country’s most reliable economic sector were it not for the vision and caution of Lebanon’s central bank, Banque du Liban (BDL), which, seasoned by decades of political and security turmoil, was able to mitigate the

The Case For BLC Bank

Background Despite its new look logo and name, BLC Bank is one of Lebanon’s oldest banks, and also historically quite prestigious by domestic standards. Previously named Banque Libanaise pour le Commerce, BLC was founded by the Abou Jaoudeh family in the early 1950s. Prior to the Lebanese civil war, the bank was a major private