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French Version

Global security firm opens Lebanon branch

The global security company Group 4 Securicor opened its new Lebanon office at a ceremony Tuesday night at the Sursock villa in Achrafieh.

The company has operations in eight Middle Eastern countries in addition to Israel and has signed a deal to help provide security at the Canadian Embassy in Lebanon.

Group 4 has also recently signed a deal to open operations in Syria.

"Even though this country is very small, it is an important hub economically and politically for this region," said Group 4 CEO Lars Johansen. "We feel that the Lebanese economy is just ahead of a boom."

Johansen said the company hopes to capitalize on the construction boom by providing security for banks, retailers, and embassies.

Johansen said that the size of the security market in Lebanon is undetermined and still "undeveloped."

There are many local firms providing security within Lebanon, but Group 4 is the first leading global firm to set up shop here.

Abrahem Ghezarian, the company's managing director for the Levant area, said he hopes to hire 140 Lebanese for projects around Lebanon.

Group 4 is one of a large number of private security firms to move into the Middle East region in recent years. The company has 300 employees involved in firefighting in Iraq. It was guarding one of the Western residential compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia which was bombed in May 2003, killing 23 people.

Group 4 is listed on the Copenhagen and London Stock exchange and has a turnover of about $9.5 billion. It has 350,000 employees in 110 countries.

The company's partners in Lebanon ar Emir Youssef Abillama and Karim Bassil, who own construction and property management firms.

Group 4 is a leading contractor with the U.S. government and helps provide security for NASA, the Pentagon, and U.S. Army bases.

Beirut,02 14 2005
Will Rasmussen
The Daily Star
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