Jordan's Capital Bank acquires Societe Generale Bank Jordan

AMMAN, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Jordan's Capital Bank agreed a deal on Thursday to acquire Societe Generale Bank Jordan (SGBJ), its chairman said, in its second foray within a year to expand its foothold regionally and domestically.

Capital Bank will acquire 100% ownership of SGBJ, a fully licensed Jordanian bank, along with its wholly owned financial brokerage firm, its chairman Bassem Al-Salem told Reuters. He did not disclose the value of the deal.

"This acquisition will help support the bank's drive to improve its competitive position in its home market and push forward its regional expansion plans," Al Salem said.

The board of Capital Bank in December approved a mandatory offer to acquire SGBJ, which is 87.7% owned by Societe Generale de Banque au Liban, according to the latest information on SGBJ's website.

Last year Capital Bank, one of Jordan's biggest banks, 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.

Capital Bank also received approval from the Saudi cabinet to open a branch of the National Bank of Iraq in Saudi Arabia, which would boost trade finance between the three neighbouring countries.

Assets of Capital Bank, whose shareholders include Jordan's main industrialists and businesses, have grown 45% in less than a year to around 6 billion dinars ($8.5 billion), Al Salem said.

The bank has in recent years expanded to serve small and medium-sized companies and retail customers.

($1 = 0.7080 Jordanian dinars)

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Susan Fenton

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