Another deal was carried out for a consumer-lending firm present in the Kuwaiti market since 1980. The four-year secured transaction was fully underwritten by BNP Paribas. A third deal in 2007 was arranged on behalf of the combined group.

In the meantime, BNP Paribas demonstrated its sustained commitment to the development of the local financial industry, by sponsoring the Kuwait Financial Forum between 2009 and 2011. Organised by the Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal group, this event has been attended by leading financial industry figures such as Kuwait s Prime Minister, H.H Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; H.E. Saad Hariri, President of the Council of Ministers of Lebanon; Gulf central bank governors and representatives of prominent local and international banks.

The following year, BNP Paribas played a major role in the sale by a major Kuwaiti mobile telecoms operator. The Bank contributed as advisor on the sale and as treasury facilities and management agent for the closing of the deal.

The following year, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Finance appointed BNP Paribas Paris-based team as transaction advisor for its very first independent water and power project. This involved construction of a 1500 MW power plant coupled with a facility to produce 100 MIGD42 of desalinated water.

Planning the future

The successes keep coming for the Bank s Kuwait branch through the early years of this decade. One iconic deal concluded with a major petroleum company underlined the importance of the BNP Paribas network, which boasts an extent and reach that has proven a highly valuable asset in trade finance and cash management operations. In May 2011, the petroleum company chose the Bank as sole partner for its trade finance and cash management operations in 14 European countries, with a brief to optimise its European financial flows.

Fahad Al-Sabah, Regional Head Middle East & Africa, BNP Investment Partners, emphasises the importance of the Bank s dedicated, on-the-ground approach to the region, and Kuwait s pivotal role in this strategy.

When we started covering the region locally out of Bahrain 2002, our business grew in the GCC much more rapidly than when it was being covered out of Paris, he explains. To be more precise, when we established our presence in Kuwait in 2005, the growth in Kuwait also was quite substantial it s worth remembering that Kuwait is home to the world s oldest sovereign wealth fund, which was established in 1953. Now, as a result of

42. MIGD: Million Imperial Gallons per Day

154 T H E H I S T O R Y O F B N P PA R I B A S I N T H E G U L F S TAT E S