French bank says it will continue Bahrain ops

BNP Paribas denies speculation that it will leave Gulf kingdom amid continuing unrest
French bank says it will continue Bahrain ops
Frances biggest listed lender has pledged to stay in Bahrain
By Bloomberg
Sat 11 Feb 2012 10:10 AM

BNP Paribas will continue operations in Bahrain, according Jean-Christophe Durand, the Paris-based lender’s head for the Middle East and Africa.

If the bank had taken a decision to pull out it would have informed the central bank, Durand said in a phone interview.

“We haven’t done that.” Durand was responding to speculation that the bank may quit Bahrain after the Gulf nation witnessed political unrest.

BNP Paribas, which has its regional headquarters in Bahrain, last year set up backup operations in Dubai as part of its policy to establish these centres worldwide, Durand said.

Societe Generale (GLE) said last week it will move its private banking office in Bahrain to the United Arab Emirates as the French lender seeks to cut costs.

AXA Insurance Gulf’s revenue in Bahrain grew more than 10 percent last year amid the unrest, Jerome Droesch, chief executive officer for the Gulf and the Middle East, said in a phone interview from Dubai, without giving details.

The company, which has its regional headquarters in the island nation, increased its staff by 5 percent to 100 last year, he said.

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