Author: 
M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Fri, 2004-05-28 03:00

RIYADH, 28 May 2004 — In a major development in the local banking industry, Citigroup announced that it will sell its shares in Samba Financial Group to the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund. “Citigroup has reached an agreement to sell its 20 percent stake in Samba to Public Investment Fund, said Samba here yesterday.

“The management agreement with Citigroup ended successfully on Oct. 31 last year,” noted the bank, without giving more details about Citigroup’s sale of shares.

Citibank has been managing Samba under a technical management agreement, which was last renewed in 1999 for a five-year term. In September 2003, an agreement was concluded with Citigroup to complete the transfer of Samba to local management by Oct. 31, 2003.

Samba announced record results with net income of SR581 million during the first quarter, an increase of 21 percent over the same period last year. Its core net income without capital gains grew by 46 percent while the bank’s overall performance continued to be strong with growth across all business areas following the merger of Samba with the United Saudi Bank in 1999.

Samba was established on Feb. 12, 1980 to take over branches of Citibank in Riyadh and Jeddah. Citibank came to the Kingdom in 1955 with a branch in Jeddah and opened its Riyadh branch in 1966. Samba was formed under a program adopted by the Kingdom in the mid-1970s that forced all foreign banks operating here to sell majority equity interests to Saudi nationals.

Since inception, Samba has grown at a stable pace.

The bank currently has 62 branches, 253 ATMs, three Global Investment Centers, and 28 Speed Cash Centers within the Kingdom. Its capital stands at SR4,000 million, comprising of 80 million shares.

It currently employs a staff of 2,236. Samba was the first bank to establish an Investment Department, introduced the first local equity fund and the first fund open to overseas investors — SAIF — and is listed on the London Security Exchange.

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