Byblos Bank, one of the leading banks in Lebanon, listed its global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange, which now trades 37 companies based in the Middle East. Byblos Bank, which has expanded rapidly into international markets in recent years, became the first Lebanon-based firm to list in London in 12 years.
Approximately $80 million of Byblos Bank’s equity was converted to GDRs, which were admitted to trading on the LSE’s Main Market. The Bank of New York Mellon is the depositary for the GDR program. No new capital is being raised in the transaction. Each GDR represents 50 common shares.
“Byblos established this sponsored facility in order to increase liquidity through the listing of global depositary shares and to promote further transparency for investors,” explains Semaan Bassil, vice chairman and general manager of the Beirut-based bank.
Byblos has the third-largest branch network in Lebanon. It has overseas operations in the UK, France, Belgium, Armenia, Cyprus, the UAE, Syria, Iraq, Sudan and Nigeria. The bank earned $122 million in 2008, an increase of 23% from a year earlier. Its assets rose by 18.5% to $11.2 billion at year-end 2008.
The LSE says it is the world’s most international exchange, with nearly 700 companies from 70 countries trading on its markets, including AIM, its market for small and medium-size enterprises. The exchange attracted 218 of its international listings in the past three years.