UAE, Morocco banks eye BNP Egypt retail arm
Dubai, October 1, 2012
Dubai's Emirates NBD and Morocco's Attijari Wafa bank have bid to buy BNP Paribas' Egyptian retail arm, four banking sources said, as regional banks pick up assets being shed by European lenders.
BNP, the top French bank, put its retail banking business in Egypt on the block in June, seeking to shore up its capital base and exit non-core operations.
The sale is expected to generate as much as $500 million for the French lender, said one banking source speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.
"The two parties are clearly the frontrunners for the stake. There is a lot of regional interest for Egyptian assets but some may be backing out, expecting other European assets to be put on the block," the banking source said.
Mideast investors are keen to beef up their investments in post-revolution Egypt as the country stabilises, while European banks try to clean up bloated balance sheets by selling some overseas units.
Swiss bank UBS is advising the Moroccan lender on the deal, two sources said.
Attijariwafabank's Managing Director Ismail Douiri declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. ENDB was not immediately available for comment. BNP Paribas declined to comment.-Reuters