Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES) and Mashreqbank PSC (MASQ), two Dubai-based lenders, are among bidders for Citigroup Inc.’s (C) consumer-banking business in Egypt, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.
The two submitted offers in the first round of bidding, the people said, asking not to be identified because the process is private. The value of the bank’s portfolio in the Arab world’s most populous economy may be about $500 million, with a second round of bids to begin shortly, one of the people said.
Citigroup, based in New York, is exiting its consumer banking business in 11 countries to focus on markets where it has the greatest scale and growth potential. The bank has said it expects to complete most of those sales this year.
Competitors including BNP Paribas SA (BNP) and Societe Generale SA also sold consumer businesses in Egypt to boost returns. Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, bought BNP Paribas’ Egypt unit in a $500 million deal in 2013, while Qatar National Bank SAQ acquired SocGen Egypt for $1.97 billion the same year.
A spokesman for Citigroup in Dubai declined to comment as did spokesmen for Emirates NBD and Mashreqbank.
Egypt’s economic growth is expected to accelerate as political stability returns following the military’s ousting of the Islamists from power almost two years ago and the election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as president. North Africa’s biggest economy will grow 3.4 percent this year, according to the average of 10 economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg, compared with 2.2 percent last year.