HSBC Bank Middle East is in talks with Blom Bank, to sell its Lebanese business, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the London-headquartered HSBC Holdings said. While no other details have been revealed so far, the Middle East arm of HSBC said that there is no certainty whether the deal would materialise.
The Beirut-headquartered Blom Bank confirmed the developments in a statement on 25 July. "Blom Bank S.A.L. announces that it has been in discussions with HSBC regarding an acquisition of HSBC's operations in Lebanon. At this stage there can be no certainty that a binding agreement in relation to the Transaction will become effective. A further announcement will be made when appropriate," the bank said.
The move is part of HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver's three-year strategy, which he announced in 2015. He had said that HSBC would undergo a streamlining process whereby its sprawling operations would be reduced. Gulliver had also pledged to cut 25,000 jobs in an effort to save annual costs by $5bn (£3.81bn; €4.55bn), which in turn would increase returns for shareholders.
Since then, the LSE-listed bank has initiated plans to sell its businesses at various locations including Turkey and Brazil. Its plan to sell its unprofitable Turkish business was in fact scrapped earlier this year amid the bank struggling to find a potential buyer, according to a news report.
Since 2011 HSBC has reduced its presence across the world. While it had operations in 87 countries in 2011, by the end of 2015, it was operating in 71 countries.
HSBC Lebanon was established way back in 1946. It has 200 employees across three branches.