HSBC may end Libya presence after 55 years

HSBC's retreat from Libya is part of a plan to reduce costs (Source: Getty Images)
HSBC is believed to be planning to close its representative office in Tripoli, bringing to an end a presence in Libya going back 55 years to 1959.

The plan is part of ongoing efforts by chief executive Stuart Gulliver to reduce costs by drawing back from markets where the banking giant does not have a significant footprint.

HSBC’s Tripoli office last closed in early 2011 during the Libyan civil war, before reopening in late 2011 as the conflict waned, but it now looked to be set to close for good, according to a report in the Telegraph.

The bank’s Libya operations are considered to be one of HSBC’s more marginal assets, with the Tripoli office currently having only an extremely small staff of fewer than 10 people, with only five of them believed to be active at any one time.

The current HSBC office in Tripoli opened in 2006 during a period of expansion in the Middle East and North Africa that occurred as part of the tenure of previous chief executive Stephen Green.

However HSBC’s operations in Libya go back to its acquisition of the British Bank of the Middle East in 1959, which also saw it gain offices in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Tunisia and Morocco.

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