|Founded||January 27, 1872|
|Founder||Henri Bamberger, Adolphe-Ernest Fould, Eugène Goüin, Edouard Hentsch, Edmond Joubert, Henri Cernuschi|
|Defunct||May 22, 2000|
Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas S.A. (Paribas, Bank of Paris and the Netherlands) was a French investment bank based in Paris that in May 2000 merged with Banque Nationale de Paris S.A. to form BNP Paribas. Les Pays-Bas ("The Low-Countries") is French for the Netherlands.
In the early 1820s, Louis-Raphaël Bischoffsheim founded a private banking establishment in Amsterdam in his own name. His brother Jonathan-Raphaël created a branch in Antwerp in 1827 before settling in Brussels in 1836. Having married Henriette Goldschmidt, the daughter of Frankfurt banker Hayum-Salomon Goldschmidt, Louis-Raphaël Bischoffsheim established the Bischoffsheim, Goldschmidt & Cie bank in Paris in 1846, then in London in 1860. In 1863 he merged these banks with the Banque de Crédit et de Dépôt des Pays-Bas, which he had founded in Amsterdam: the Bischoffsheim family thereby established a powerful multinational banking conglomerate.
Separately in 1869, a group of bankers and investors including Adrien Delahante, Edmond Joubert and Henri Cernuschi, with the private bankers Eugène Goüin (Tours), Adolphe-Ernest Fould of the Fould family, E. et A. Schnapper Stern (Paris), Brugmann (Brussels), Tietgen (Copenhagen), founded the Banque de Paris, with its headquarters near the Opera at 3 rue d'Antin, Paris.
The two banks Banque de Crédit et de Dépôt des Pays-Bas and Banque de Paris would merge on January 27, 1872 to create Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas (Paribas).
During its first year of existence, the new bank joined forces with Crédit Lyonnais to head the financial consortium set up to float one-third of the Franco-Prussian War indemnity loan of 3 billion francs for the French government. The major part of the funds raised by Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas came through its Brussels outlet as a result of the close relations established with certain German financiers.
Between 1888 and 1913 Paribas led or participated in government loan issues, and in share or bond issues for French and foreign private companies. Most noteworthy among these were:
During World War I it helped the French government raise funds through war loans, the 'Bons de la Défense Nationale', and it played its part in negotiations to open credit accounts for the French Treasury in Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden. It also helped to raise finance for the weapons industry (Compagnie Nationale de Matières Colorantes et de Produits Chimiques).
The impact of inflation during the 1920s, combined with the reconstruction effort and moves to expand the bank's activities under the guidance of Horace Finaly (at the head of the bank from 1919 to 1937) led to an increase in the banks capital and further investment in industrial concerns and public utilities.
World War II eroded its capital and the bank was cut off from its affiliates and correspondent banking partners in the allied countries. It lost a portion of its foreign assets in Central Europe and Norway. Nevertheless, it helped in the development of industrial patents for such products as alternative fuels, gas producing substances and oil-shale.
Its merchant-banking profile had enabled it to sidestep nationalization in 1945 and Paribas was able to take full advantage of the legislation of 2 December 1945 and 17 May 1946, which ratified the status of a full-service bank. The bank was thus poised to develop its activities freely in commercial banking for French companies and, before long, on an international scale.
The 1960s to 1980 saw Paribas start an investment bank in New York which it expanded into an internal banking network with offices in a number of countries and started an asset management services to private and institutional clients.Claude de Kemoularia was an important executive in the bank during this period. It also directs its activity towards businesses and participates in the development and restructuring of French industry including names such as Bull, CSF, Thomson.
The bank was nationalized in 1982 by the government of Pierre Mauroy under François Mitterrand as part of a law that nationalized five major industrial companies, thirty-nine registered banks and two financial companies, Suez and Paribas. It was re-privatized in January 1987 by the Chirac government.
In 1998. Paribas acquires the French bank - Compagnie Bancaire; and the merged entity is named as Compagnie Financière de Paribas
In 1999, BNP and Société Générale fought a complex battle on the stock market, with Société Générale bidding for Paribas and BNP bidding for Société Générale and counter-bidding for Paribas. BNP's bid for Société Générale failed, while its bid for Paribas succeeded leading to a merger of BNP and Paribas one year later on 22 May 2000.
Historically, Paribas has been actively involved in the financing of oil markets and had strong relations with Standard Oil. This was one of the reasons that Paribas was chosen in the funding agreement in the Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme. The technique of oil pre-financing consists of loans secured on future oil revenues. It was developed in the 1970s by Marc Rich and his commodities brokerage Glencore and has been designated by the UN and the World Bank as a cause of impoverishment of oil producing countries and as one of key phenomena of kleptocracy.
Paribas Luxembourg was closely linked to controversial Iraq business man Nadhmi Auchi. Links date back to the 1970s with the jointly controlled Continental Bank of Luxembourg. In early 1990, Auchi was the largest shareholder in Paribas with 12% share through Auchi's holding company General Mediterranean Holdings or GenMed. He played a key role in Paribas involvement of the Iraq Oil of Food programme signed by Saddam Hussein and the UN. Auchi played a major role in the BNP Paribas merger.
Judge Philippe Courroye investigated the role played by Banque Paribas in the case of arms sales to Angola in what became known as the Mitterrand-Pasqua affair. Between 1995 and 1997, the bank clearing department, then headed by Alain Bernard, funded $573 million of arms sales between Russia and Angola, according to Judge Courroye's investigations. Jean-Didier Maille, Alain Bernard's deputy, set up the financing and the two men would have received $30 million in commissions in foreign accounts for their actions. During Jean-Didier Maille's hearing in the investigation he said "the management was aware Paribas activities ... Alain Bernard ... Everyone knew he was paying commissions ... We called these activities: Special Affairs." For its part, André Levy-Lang, CEO of Paribas subsidiary Compagnie Bancaire said he was not aware of this case and the fees charged by Alain Bernard and Jean-Didier Maille.
The abbreviated name Paribas was first created in the beginning of the 1960s by the Flemish artist and entrepreneur Bobbejaan Schoepen during a visit from his neighbour and friend Maurits Naessens, who was a director of Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas in Belgium at the time.