Oger is owned by Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who has been interested in increasing his stake in Arab Bank, and potentially moving its headquarters to Beirut, for several years (MEED 10:8:01). Banking sources say that the opportunity for Oger to acquire the 11 per cent stake arose when a deal fell through for an Arab-American investor to acquire the equity.

The redistribution of shares will take the total holding of Oger in Arab Bank to 13.9 per cent, that of the SCC to 14.5 per cent and that of Abdul Majeed and Abdul Hamed to 8 per cent.

Arab Bank had assets of JD 19,260 million ($27,127 million) at the end of 2002 and reported profits of JD 130.2 million ($183.4 million) for the year (MEED 14:2:03). In November, the bank acquired Atlas Investment in order to expand its investment banking offering (MEED 21:11:03).