No decision yet on Al-Watany bid

Commercial Bank of Kuwait still to decide how much it is prepared to pay for a stake in the Egyptian lender.
No decision yet on Al-Watany bid
By Reuters
Wed 08 Aug 2007 12:08 PM

Commercial Bank of Kuwait said on Wednesday it had made no decision yet on how much it is prepared to pay for a stake in Al-Watany Bank of Egypt.

Commercial Bank chairman Abdul-Majeed al-Shatti told Reuters on Tuesday the Kuwaiti lender could bid as much as four times book value for a 70% stake in the lender, though the exact book value would depend on the outcome of due diligence.

The bid next week will include 10% for Commercial Bank's bidding partner, Noor Financial Investment.

"The bank wants to clarify with regards to its acquisition of a significant stake of al-Watany Bank of Egypt that it has, up to date, not determined the price it will offer," Commercial Bank said in a statement on the Kuwaiti bourse website.

Commercial Bank, National Bank of Kuwait and Greece's EFG Eurobank were given six weeks in June to conduct due diligence on Watany, the latest Egyptian lender to go on sale as part of government plans to encourage foreign investment and create larger banks. All three plan to bid for majority stakes.

Based on half-year book value, Commercial Bank could pay as much as $568 million for the stake, or a 21% premium to Monday's closing share price, to enter the most populous Arab country.

Watany's shares rose to a 2007 high on Tuesday after Shatti's remarks.

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