By Sarah Daoud
Société Générale is in talks with Qatar National Bank (QNB) to sell its majority stake in its Egyptian subsidiary, according to Mohamed El Deeb, chairman and managing director of National Société Générale Bank-Egypt (NSGB-Egypt).
QNB has expressed interest and approached the group about potential acquisition of its 77.2 percent majority stake in NSGB-Egypt. An application with the Central Bank of Egypt to allow due diligence has already been filed.
“There are no further details available, except that QNB made an offer for a majority share in NSGB, that’s it,” El Deeb told the Daily News Egypt when asked for further comments on the talks.
NSGB-Egypt is Egypt’s second largest publicly traded bank. As of 30 June, NSGB-Egypt’s total assets reached $10.5 billion and Société Générale’s stake is valued at about $1.77 billion (10.8 billion Egyptian pounds).
News of the talks came just a day after the France-based bank announced it was in advanced talks to sell its Greek subsidiary, Geniki, to Piraeus Bank.
“Société Générale and other European banks are needing to raise their capital right now so they are focusing more on core interests,” said Ankur Ketawat, sector analyst for CI Capital Research. He suggested that their core interests do not include their investments outside of Europe due to the troubling economic issues many countries are facing in that area.
The talks are in the preliminary stage and there is no certainty a deal will be made, but this goes along well with QNB’s five-year plan to expand significantly in the Middle East and Africa.
“If you look at the buyer versus seller in the deal, the buyer, QNB, has excess funds and has shown interest in investing in the region and the seller needs to raise its capital and approval has already been asked from the Central Bank of Egypt so there is really no reason as of right now the deal won’t go through,” said Ketawat.
QNB recently more than doubled its stake in Commercial Bank International rising from 16.5 percent stake to 39.9 percent. Other recent acquisitions include a 51 percent stake in Iraq’s Mansour Bank and 49 percent of Libya’s Bank of Commerce and Development, which now brings the banks presence to 24 countries.
As news spread of the talks, Egyptian shares jumped to the highest level in six months.
“This is definitely a positive thing for the sector and the economy because it shows that there is foreign interest,” Khetawat said. “Since the revolution, that has decreased with all the uncertainty in the country.”