Maghreb move for UGB

16 November 2002

Bahrain-based United Gulf Bank (UGB) has been granted a licence to operate a commercial bank in Algeria. 'We are completing the formalities with the central bank [Banque d'Algerie], and hope to begin operations in the first half of 2003,' UGB general manager Mohammad Haroon told MEED on 11 November. The bank is hoping to build on its success in neighbouring Tunisia, where UGB holds a 70.2 per cent stake in Tunis International Bank (TIB).

'From our position in TIB, we have a good feel for the Algerian market,' says Haroon. 'We consider Algeria as an upcoming market and see much potential in the commercial banking sector.'

The new bank - Algeria Gulf Bank (AGB) - will be an in-house joint venture. UGB will own 60 per cent, TIB will hold a 30 per cent stake and the remaining 10 per cent stake will be held by UGB's affiliate Jordan-Kuwait Bank (JKB). AGB will have an authorised capital of AD 1,600 million ($20 million) and be managed by Amine Baghdadi, joint representative of TIB and JKB in Algeria. Headquarters will be established in Algiers, and further branches will be opened at a later date.

Several other international and regional banks have set up subsidiaries in Algeria in recent years. They include Societe Generale, Citibank and Arab Banking Corporation (MEED 17:3:00, Cover Story).

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