Credit Lyonnais ponders Bahrain option

24 June 1994

Credit Lyonnais has increased its holding to 43.9 per cent, making it by far the largest shareholder.

Credit Lyonnais is considering establishing a direct presence in Bahrain. This could involve taking over the business of Bahrain-based Gulf Riyad Bank, of which it owns 40 per cent, bankers say. Details have not been decided yet, Credit Lyonnais says. This follows an increase in its stake in Union de Banques Arabes & Francaises (UBAF) to almost 44 per cent. It is now UBAF's largest shareholder (see above).

Saudi Arabia's Riyad Bank, which owns the remaining shares in Gulf Riyad Bank, is understood to be planning to sell its stake. Gulf Riyad Bank has not been taking on any new business since late 1993 in anticipation of the restructuring.

Gulf Riyad Bank's results for 1993 reflect this, with assets falling by 17 per cent to $223 million. However, profits more than doubled to $10 million. The profit rise was mainly due to the recovery of $3.5 million worth of bad loans, compared with provisions of $1 million the previous year. Loans and advances shrunk by 16 per cent. The biggest drop was in loans to private companies, which went down by 33 per cent to $35.8 million. Loans to the government, by far the largest creditor, dropped by 7 per cent to $121 million. Funds raised from other banks, the most important source of funds, were 35 per cent down to $115.2 million. Paid-up capital is $50 million. The board has proposed no dividend.

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