The London-based credit rating agency, IBCA, has given Union de Banques Arabes & Francaises (UBAF) a long-term rating of A-. The short- term rating of A2 is affirmed. The bank posted a FF 47.2 million ($8.8 million) profit in 1994, compared with a FF 743 million ($126 million) loss the year before (MEED 16:6:95). It was to increase the number of its representative offices in the Middle East as part of a three-year strategy to expand its corporate operations and boost trade finance activities (MEED 28:7:95).

UBAF is 56 per cent owned by Arab interests, mainly public-sector Arab banks. The remaining 44 per cent is held by France’s Credit Lyonnais. IBCA assigned its long-term rating on the basis of UBAF being an integral part of the Credit Lyonnais group.

IBCA has been involved in setting up the Arab world’s first credit ratings agency. Inter-Arab Ratings Company (IARC) is a joint venture between the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) and IBCA (MEED 20:10:95). The signing ceremony of the new company took place on 8 October during the World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington. IARC has authorised capital of $5 million. The AMF and IFC both have a 20 per cent stake and the remainder is held by IBCA.