OFID to support Lebanon and Gulf Bank, boost SMEs

VIENNA, Austria, The OPEC Fund for International Development, OFID, has partnered with two development banks the Dutch development bank FMO and the Austria-based Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank AG, OeEB to sign a US$67.5 million loan to Lebanon and Gulf Bank, LGB Bank.

The transaction was established by the efforts of OFID and Alpen Capital, with the latter acting as the sole financial advisor. FMO acted as the mandated lead arranger and facility agent.

The loan, which has a tenor of five years, is LGB Bank’s first from development finance institutions. The facility increases the availability of funding for small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, in Lebanon.

Director-General of OFID, Suleiman J Al-Herbish, said, “OFID works hard to develop and maintain partnerships to optimise the impact of its contribution to international development. We are proud to have played such an instrumental role in an important transaction that will stimulate Lebanon’s private sector and help support SMEs.”

CEO of FMO, Jurgen Rigterink, said, “This marks the first debt transaction in Lebanon after several years. It fits perfectly in our new strategy to expand in the financial sector in the MENA region, supporting SMEs and thereby stimulating job creation in the country.”

CEO of LGB Bank, Samer A H Itani, commented, “We are proud of the excellent collaboration between FMO, OFID, OeEB and LGB Bank as it proves our bank’s willingness to enhance key drivers of the Lebanese economy. This syndicated facility will furthermore strengthen LGB Bank’s position as a leading lender of major SMEs across the country, and also demonstrates our determination in nurturing business relationships with our international partners. Moreover, this transaction will assist the bank in enhancing its corporate social responsibility and strengthening its efforts to support its community.”

Sabine Gaber and Michael Wancata, members of the Executive Board of OeEB, said, “Creating jobs, which ensure a stable income, is the key for sustainable development and especially important for the MENA region. This transaction will create new perspectives for entrepreneurs in Lebanon.”

Source: Emirates News Agency