The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has confirmed that BLOM Bank’s Global Depositary Shares (GDSs) have been withdrawn from trading on the International Order Book of the exchange as of 24th November 2020.
BLOM Bank announced in late October 2020 that it would apply for the withdrawal of its GDSs (ISIN: US0936881095, trading symbol: BLOBK) from both the London and Luxembourg Stock Exchanges. BLOM Bank was also removed from the FTSE IOB Index as a result, effective 24th November 2020.
The reason for the delisting is due to Lebanon’s current financial, economic and fiscal crises which have had a severe impact on the country’s banking sector as a whole, including BLOM Bank. The Bank believes that extreme uncertainties for it and its shareholders have led to a situation that is “incompatible with the maintenance of the listing of the Issuer’s GDSs on the International Order Book”. Lackluster liquidity of the shares was also cited as a reason for the withdrawal from both Exchanges.
MSCI confirmed on November 19th 2020 that the BLOM Bank GDR wil be removed from both the MSCI Global Standard Indexes and MSCI Mid Cap Indexes due to the delisting. The status of BLOM Bank in the MSCI Lebanon Index is yet to be confirmed. The Bank is currently one of three stocks in the Index alongside Solidere A and Solidere B, but only has a weight of 3.61% as of October 30th 2020. MSCI are currently mulling over Lebanon’s status as a Frontier Market and have launched a consultation to gather the thoughts and opinions of market participants on the subject.
The GDSs and the underlying shares of the Bank represented by the GDSs will continue to be listed and traded on the Beirut Stock Exchange. The Bank will not be terminating its Global Deposit Receipt Programme.
BLOM Bank was not the first Lebanese bank to take these drastic measures and it follows in the footsteps of Bank Audi (16th November 2020) and Byblos Bank (July 2020), both leaving the London Stock Exchange for the same reason.