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Arab unrest weighs on earnings at Lebanon’s Bank Audi

Published: Updated:

Net profit at Lebanon’s biggest lender Bank Audi dipped to $188 million for the first half of 2013, reflecting a one-off gain

a year ago but also held back by continuing unrest across the Arab world.

Audi, the Middle Eastern state’s biggest bank by assets, recorded profit of $230m in the same period of 2012 due largely to the $44.5m sale of its 81 percent majority stake in insurance company LIA and a sluggish domestic economy.

Lebanon has taken a hit from spillover from the civil war in neighboring Syria, as well as political deadlock at home and the unrest and economic crisis in one of its major partners Egypt.

“The outbreak of the ‘Arab Spring’ imposed a readjustment of the group’s current expansion strategy focusing on a quick deleveraging in Syria, consolidating its position in Egypt and strengthening its leadership in Lebanon,” Audi said.

Audi launched a Turkish subsidiary this year and said the branch’s performance had remained stable despite political tensions there.

“Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt will constitute the main geographic development pillars of the Group,” the statement said.