With such auspicious beginnings, it is perhaps no surprise that the Group s Riyadh operation quickly flourished. Benefiting from BNP Paribas broad international reach and tight co-operation among different segments of the Group, it facilitated a number of cross- border transactions for local clients.
The Bank was also involved in financing several major infrastructure projects that were instrumental in the government s drive to improve the delivery of essential services to its citizens. Prominent examples include BNP Paribas serving as lead arranger for the financing of the Marafiq Independent Water & Power Project, designed to supply water and electricity to the city of Jubail and the Eastern Province, and participating in funding arrangements for the expansion of King Abdullah International Airport.
In 2006, BNP Paribas Chairman, Michel Pébereau, was a member of the delegation that accompanied French President, Jacques Chirac, on an official state visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and met with top executives of major Saudi firms to discuss possible areas of co-operation. Pébereau also made sure to visit the fledgling Riyadh branch and share words of encouragement with local staff.
There has also been strong demand for the Bank s advisory services on a number of high-profile developments related to the Kingdom s ambitious efforts to diversify the economy from crude exploration into areas such as downstream petrochemical, power, transportation and infrastructure.
Having notched up so many early successes, BNP Paribas Country Head in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Michel Dubois, sounded a justifiable note of pride when he addressed participants at the Riyadh branch s two-year anniversary celebrations in late 2007. These two years have seen the branch grow from a fledgling operation to a fully staffed organisation , he said, capable of providing our clients with the group s international range of products and services.
These sentiments are echoed by Ali Ben Taher, responsible for the branch s business development in the crucial years of mid-2007 to 2009: The young branch grew at a fast pace and the market was large and rich in potential. The BNP Paribas brand was starting to make its mark with the high quality of service and expertise offered by the trade finance department.
A true growth partnership
Alongside its efforts to grow the local business and develop tailored solutions for its expanding customer base, the Riyadh branch worked hard to establish a track record as a responsible corporate citizen that contributes to the development of the financial industry in the Kingdom as a whole. It has regularly taken part in events such as the King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals Career Day, a major event on the student calendar, to introduce students to the Group and the possibilities of a career in financial services.
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