BIT and NECB Memorandum of Understanding on merger

SARADAR Group, Beirut, July 04, 2014

Banque de l'Industrie et du Travail sal ("BIT") and Near East Commercial Bank sal ("NECB")-member of Saradar Group-announce that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to merge both entities, subject to Central Bank approval.

As part of the merger, each bank will contribute its respective assets to the Merging Bank, in addition to a capital injection from NECB's shareholders.

Leveraging on the synergies and complementary strengths of both parties, the Merging Bank will be well positioned to become a unique and competitive banking institution. It will offer an integrated range of premier financial services specializing in the fields of Private, Commercial, and mass Retail Banking.

The Merging Bank will have a geographic footprint extending over 19 branches with total assets exceeding USD 1.1 billion. The Bank will benefit from a solid Shareholders' Equity base of nearly USD 200 million providing significant growth opportunities.

The Merging Bank shall initially operate under the "BIT" commercial name.

The ownership of the Merging Bank will include:

-Bustani Family
-El Khazen Family
-Mr. Carlos Ghosn
-Mecattaf Group
-Mikati Group
-Saradar Group
-Shammas Economic Institute sal
-Wiederkehr Group

Sheikh Fouad El Khazen will be appointed as Honorary Chairman of the Merging Bank.
Mr. Mario Saradar will be appointed as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.