July 6 (Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank, is planning to close its Libyan operations, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The representative office in Tripoli, which employs less than 10 people, failed to pass a set of criteria drawn up by the lender to determine which businesses it should exit, the person said, asking not to be identified as the plans aren’t public. In June last year the bank said it planned to sell its Iraqi operations for similar reasons, according to the person.
Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver is seeking to simplify the bank’s structure and boost returns by selling assets and focusing on growing economies in which the bank has the greatest market share. HSBC has already sold off units around the world including its Japanese private bank, Russian retail bank and several Latin American businesses.
HSBC opened the representative office in Tripoli in 2007, according to the Central Bank of Libya’s website, although its links to the country date back to its acquisition of The British Bank of the Middle East in 1959.
The planned closure was first reported by the Telegraph today.