By Andy Sambidge
Dubai's largest lender acquires French bank's Egyptian unit; CEO hails 'milestone opportunity'
Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest bank, has completed its acquisition of shares in the Egypt unit of BNP Paribas in a $500m deal, it said in a statement.
The bank said it has now fulfilled the required approvals from the Central Bank of Egypt and the General Authority for Investment (GAFI) on the majority of shares (95.2 percent).
It added that necessary approvals are currently in process for the shares owned by Bank Misr and Banque du Caire Employee Insurance Fund, representing the remaining shares.
Rick Pudner, Group CEO of Emirates NBD, said: "Egypt is a key market in the Middle East and we are totally committed to serve the Egyptian economy and community.
"This acquisition represents a milestone opportunity for us to realise our strategic goal to be globally recognized as the most valued financial services provider based in the Middle East.
"We are confident that this acquisition will also underpin the potential opportunities that the Egyptian market offers."
Under the deal, Emirates NBD will take over BNP Paribas' Egypt operation and will serve a client base of over 200,000 customers, 3,000 corporate and 700 financial institutions through a network of 68 branches.
Following completion of the transaction, Emirates NBD and BNP Paribas said they plan to co-operate in a number of business areas such as trade finance, cash management and corporate and investment banking.
Pudner added: "Emirates NBD has an ambitious future plan for Egypt that will enable the introduction of unprecedented and unique products and services that will add great value to the Egyptian customers.
"Our plan is to expand our brand territory and to maximise its value domestically and regionally".
BNP, France's biggest listed bank, put its business in Egypt on the block in June, seeking to strengthen its capital base and exit non-core operations.
Emirates NBD wants to expand its Dubai-centric business, having been hit in recent quarters by its exposure to debt-laden, state-linked entities in Dubai which have been forced to restructure billions of dollars of obligations.