was perceived at that time. BNP Paribas clearly held a position as one of the leaders in the region s banking market, and held a presence in most of the Gulf countries. The Bank was very prominent in project financing and structured finance advisory, and had notable successes in key deals such as the upgrade of Bahrain refinery, the Dolphin project and the privatisation of power plants in the Kingdom of Bahrain, among others.
The same year, BNP Paribas was one of the first foreign banks to receive a banking license in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, granted by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), subsequently opening a branch in Riyadh; and in Kuwait, granted by the Kuwaiti Council of Ministers.
H.R.H. Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa visits BNP Paribas headquarters
On 20 February 2004, during an official visit to Paris, H.R.H. Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, was welcomed at BNP Paribas headquarters by a senior delegation led by Philippe Blavier.
BNP Paribas GCC receives ISO certification for its trade service activities
In June 2005, the Bank received ISO 9001: 2000 certification for its range of trade services in the Gulf, awarded by the certification Bureau Veritas Quality International (BVQI). The certification covers all trade service activities documentary credits, documentary collections and international guarantees originated at the Bank s branches in Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kuwait and Riyadh, and processed at its regional hub in Bahrain.
First advertising campaign aimed at the entire Gulf region
In June 2005, the Bank launched its first advertising campaign aimed at the region as a whole. The natural result of the regional integration and the strategy of running the business lines from the regional hub, the Bank produced two visuals, in Arabic and in English, for a major advertising campaign. Claire Fulda, who was on the campaign design team, recollects the experience of working on this first for BNP Paribas. This was one of the first advertising campaigns designed to reflect both the regional needs of our businesses and our regional clientele, she said. It demonstrated how our own ambitions for the region matched our clients ambitions for their businesses. Visually, it s a metaphor, taking inspiration from the Arab nomads who used the stars to guide them through the desert.
Establishment of the Riyadh and Kuwait commercial branches
Following the visit of prominent government officials to Paris in late 2004, that allowed the regulator to assess the Group s control and compliance mechanisms, Michel Dubois
74 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