HSBC Bank Middle East, is in talks to sell its business in Lebanon to local lender Blom Bank, as the global banking giant looks to exit some of the less attractive markets.
There was no certainty about whether a binding transaction would result from the discussions but HSBC would make further disclosures if appropriate, news agency Reuters cited the lender as saying in a statement.
Global banks are looking to streamline businesses by merging operations, cutting staff and exiting less profitable business lines as a drop of the oil prices accentuates the global economic slowdown. HSBC, in particular is looking to divest businesses, including Brazil to Turkey, as part of Chief Executive Stuart Gullivers plan to boost profitability. The bank last year laid off about 150 mid-to-senior level executives from its Middle East operations to cut costs.
HSBC has been in Lebanon since 1946 and has offices in Dora, Ras Beirut and St Georges Bay and employs around 200 people in Lebanon, according to its website.