The Bank is a full fledged regional bank with a presence in 11 countries. Based on a diversified universal model, it operates principally in Lebanon and the Middle East North Africa ("MENA") region and offering a full range of products and services that cover principally commercial and corporate banking, retail and individual banking, on-line brokerage, private banking and investment banking. As of end-March 2012, according to Bankdata, based on unaudited financial statements of banks operating in the Lebanese Republic provided to Bankdata by such banks, the Bank ranked first among Lebanese banks in terms of total assets (US$ 28.7billion), shareholders' equity (US$ 2.5 billion), customers' deposits (US$ 24.4 billion), loans and advances (US$ 8.9 billion) and profit (US$ 94.5 million). Based on rankings of top Arab banking groups operating in the MENA region, Bank Audi is also positioned among top regional banking institutions. In addition to its historic presence in Lebanon, Switzerland and France, the Group is currently present in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi (through a representative office), Gibraltar, Monaco and Turkey (incorporated in waiting for the operating permission) amongst others.
As of March 31, 2012, the Bank had on of the largest branch network in Lebanon, with 80 branches covering the Greater Beirut area and other strategic regions in Lebanon, as well as a network of 73 branches in the MENA region (outside Lebanon), including twelve branches in Jordan . The Bank has three principal subsidiaries in Lebanon, three principal subsidiaries in Europe and six principal subsidiaries in the MENA region outside Lebanon. In addition, Bank Audi was granted on October 27, 2011 an establishment license for a deposit bank by the Banking Regulation and supervisory Authority in Turkey. It is currently finalizing the implementation process prior to applying for the operating permission which is expected on or around September 30, 2012.
Founded in 1830, the Bank was incorporated in its present form in 1962 as a private joint stock company with limited liability (société anonyme libanaise) with a duration of 99 years. The Bank is registered on the Beirut Commercial Registry under number 11347 and on the Lebanese List of Banks as number 56. The initial shareholders of the Bank were members of the Audi family, together with Kuwaiti investors. Since 1983, the shareholder base has expanded. The shareholders' base encompasses more than 1,500 holders of common shares and / or holders of Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs), representing common shares. The Bank's GDRs are listed on both the Beirut Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange and its Common Shares are listed on the Beirut Stock Exchange.
Since 2005, the Bank has undertaken significant regional expansion and ranks fourth among the top 15 Arab banking institutions in the MENA region by assets in terms of regional coverage with operations in ten countries, excluding Lebanon, through a network of branches and subsidiaries developed mainly through green-field operations. As a result of this regional expansion, an increasing percentage of the Bank's assets and profits, as well as its total costs, are contributed by its operations outside Lebanon. Management intends to reach a balanced breakdown between Lebanon and abroad over the medium term. Despite the short term uncertainties related to the recent political developments, Management still believe in the important banking and economic growth potential in the Levant and Egypt, ensuring self sustained growth. In addition, the Bank's recent expansion to Turkey and other prospective future opportunities in new and existing high value-added markets with what this entails in terms of promising growth prospects are also expected to speed up achieving management targets.
The long-term foreign currency deposit obligations of the Bank were rated B1 by Moody's Investor Services Limited ("Moody's"), while the Bank's senior debt was rated B by Standard & Poor's ("S&P") and Fitch IBCA Ltd ("Fitch Ratings"). Moody's, Fitch and S&P have each assigned the Bank a negative outlook, but all have indicated that this outlook remains constrained principally by the risk of the Lebanese Republic and the heightened political risk in host countries experiencing significant unrest since the beginning of 2011 . Nonetheless, the reports of the different agencies commend the Bank's strong business franchise, sound management team, ample and good asset quality. On a national level, the Bank was assigned Aa1.lb, the highest national rating awarded by Moody's in Lebanon under Moody's National Scale Ratings introduced in October 2007 to reflect the relative ranking of creditworthiness within a country (but not globally). A credit rating is not a recommendation by the rating organisation or any other person to buy, sell or hold securities and may be subject to revisions or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating organisation and each should be evaluated independently from the other.
As of March 31, 2012, the Bank and its consolidated subsidiaries had 4,839 employees, including 2,924 persons employed in Lebanon. The Bank's head office and registered address is Bank Audi Plaza, Omar Daouk Street, Bab Idriss, Beirut 2021 8102, P.O. Box: 11-2560, Beirut, Lebanon.