Lebanese bank to buy KBL epb activities in France and Monaco

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The French and Monegasque activities of Luxembourg-headquartered financial group KBL European Private Bankers (KBL epb), KBL Richelieu and KBL Monaco, are set to be acquired by the Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL), the Lebanese bank announced.

The transaction aims to provide a continental Europe banking license to Beirut-based SGBL which unveiled plans to build a global banking platform from France. The deal is expected to close during the first half of 2018 and subject to regulatory approval.

SGBL manages around €21.4bn in assets under management and has branches in Cyprus and Jordan. The company is owned by majority shareholder Antoun Sehnaoui while French financial group Societe Generale holds a 16.78% share in SGBL’s capital.

Georges Saghbini, deputy CEO of SGBL, specified that the acquisition will give birth to a new group La Compagnie financière Richelieu, fully owned by SGBL and which will become the parent company of Banque Richelieu France, Richelieu Gestion and Banque Richelieu Monaco.

“With this acquisition project, SGBL is opening a new era of development in France and Monaco. Indeed, we intend to develop a long-term industrial project for the Richelieu Bank and all of its employees. It is our will and our commitment,” said Saghbini.

In an interview to Luxembourg business news website Paperjam.lu, George Nasra, CEO of Precision Capital – current owner of KBL epb -, explained among others that the French private banking is hit by a very high level of consolidation and that the 10 largest French private banks hold a 90% market share, making difficult for KBL epb to find viable external growth opportunities.

Nasra also said to Paperjam.lu that KBL epb was “not for sale”. The group gathers other entities such as Puilaetco Dewaay in Belgium, Merck Finck in Germany, Banque Puilaetco Dewaay Luxembourg, KBL España, Brown Shipley in the UK and InsingerGilissen in the Netherlands.

On 9 November, KBL epb announced the strengthening of its Dutch operations with the acquisition of Lombard Odier’s Dutch private banking business by InsingerGilissen.

The group will have a new chief executive officer as from early January since BNP Paribas Fortis’ CEO retail and private banking Peter Vandekerckhove will succeed Yves Stein.