Citigroup set to launch investment banking business in Saudi Arabia

Citigroup Saudi Arabia obtained a capital markets license in April enabling its return to the kingdom after an absence of almost 13 years. (Reuters)
Updated 23 January 2018
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Citigroup set to launch investment banking business in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Citigroup has won formal approval from Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority to begin investment banking business there, the US bank said on Tuesday.
More than a dozen foreign banks have licenses to operate branches in Saudi Arabia, battling for business resulting from the kingdom’s reforms to wean its economy off oil revenues.
Citi was among the banks invited to pitch for roles in the stock market listing of Saudi oil company Aramco, sources told Reuters earlier this month, in an initial public offering (IPO) that aims to raise $100 billion.
“Saudi Arabia is a regional economic leader and a strategically important market for Citi,” Citigroup chief executive Mike Corbat said in a statement.
Citigroup Saudi Arabia, which obtained a capital markets license in April enabling its return to the Kingdom after an absence of almost 13 years, said it had held its inaugural board meeting in Riyadh.
Citigroup pulled out of Saudi Arabia after five decades in 2004 when it sold its 20 percent stake in Samba Financial Group , reallocating capital to core investments.
But in 2015 it won permission from the Saudi Arabian regulator to invest directly in the local stock market, the first step in its return.
And last year it obtained a license that allows it to provide services such as investment banking, debt and equity capital markets as well as securities research to its local and international institutional clients.
“Today’s board meeting is a culmination of efforts to re-establish an onshore operation serving our client base,” Carmen Haddad, Citi’s Country Officer-Saudi Arabia, said.
Haddad told Reuters late last year that the bank wants to hire up to 20 bankers in Saudi Arabia to capitalize on investment banking opportunities that arise from the Kingdom’s economic reform program.
Saudi Aramco has also appointed Citi to lead a $2 billion financing backed by Britain, guaranteed by UK Export Finance, the British export credit agency.


EU could compensate firms hit by US sanctions over Iran — French minister

Updated 20 May 2018
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EU could compensate firms hit by US sanctions over Iran — French minister

  • In 1996, when the United States tried to penalize foreign companies trading with Cuba, the EU forced Washington to back down by threatening retaliatory sanctions

PARIS: France is looking to see if the European Union could compensate European companies that might be facing sanctions by the United States for doing business with Iran, said French finance minister Bruno Le Maire on Sunday.
Le Maire referred to EU rules going back to 1996 which he said could allow the EU to intervene in this manner to protect European companies against any US sanctions, adding that France wanted the EU to toughen its stance in this area.
In 1996, when the United States tried to penalize foreign companies trading with Cuba, the EU forced Washington to back down by threatening retaliatory sanctions.
European firms doing business in Iran face sanctions from the United States after President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
“Are we going to allow the United States to be the economic policeman of the world? The answer is no,” Le Maire told C News TV and Europe 1 radio on Sunday.
Le Maire added it was important Italy kept its EU budget commitments, in light of plans by Italy’s new coalition government to ramp up spending — which could put Rome at odds with the EU.