AMMAN, Dec 26 (Reuters) – The board of Jordan’s Capital Bank approved a mandatory offer to acquire Societe Generale Bank Jordan (SGBJ), part of a drive to expand the bank’s foothold regionally and domestically, its chairman said on Sunday.
Bassem Al Salem told Reuters an extraordinary general meeting had on Thursday also agreed to issue $100 million in perpetual bonds – meaning they have no maturity – to help drive growth.
The bonds, the first such debt to be issued by a Jordanian bank, and the takeover move are subject to approval by regulatory authorities and the Central Bank of Jordan, Al Salem said.
The planned acquisition of SGBJ, a fully licenced Jordanian bank with 100 million dinars ($140 million) in capital, was expected to be finalised in the next few months, Al Salem added.
“This move will help support the future plans of the bank to grow and reflects the strength of its financial situation,” he said.
SGBJ is 87.7% owned by Societe Generale de Banque au Liban, according to the latest information on SGBJ’s website.
Jordan Capital Bank earlier this year completed its acquisition of Lebanese Bank Audi’s businesses in Iraq and Jordan in a move to diversify and expand its regional operations.
The bank is also pursuing expansion in Iraq via its 62% majority shareholding in National Bank of Iraq, a retail bank whose assets have almost doubled within a year to $1.1 billion, Al Salem said.
Jordan Capital Bank received approval from the Saudi cabinet to open a branch of the National Bank of Iraq in the oil-rich country, which would boost trade finance among the three neighbouring countries, Al Salem said.
Assets of Jordan Capital Bank, whose shareholders include the country’s main industrialists and businesses, have grown 45% since so far this year to around $6 billion, the senior banker said.
The leading corporate bank has in recent years expanded to serve small and medium-sized companies and retail customers.