Egypt will float stakes in Banque du Caire in April: Chairman

Egypt is planning  to sell a minority stake in state-owned Banque du Caire in an initial public offering (IPO) starting mid-April in a sale worth about $500 million, provided investor interest holds up in the face of the coronavirus, its chairman said.

It would be Egypt’s biggest sale of state assets since 2006. The bank is part of a revived programme of selling shares in a long list of state companies that was announced three years ago but has faced repeated delays.

“Our plan is to go with the IPO by mid-April, but it depends on the market conditions. For us, if you’re talking about the readiness of the bank, we are very ready,” Chairman Tarek Fayed said in an interview.

“Definitely, lots of stuff has been evolving in the last two weeks, the coronavirus,” Fayed said, but he also said that during a trip overseas last week he found continued investor interest. “The appetite is still strong. But nobody knows what could happen in the next 10 to 15 days.”

Fayed said he was in discussions with a couple of cornerstone investors who would be guaranteed participation to strengthen the offer. Multilateral development institutions would also be involved at an early stage.

“The programme allows us to go up to 45%. But the main objective is to raise funds in the vicinity of $500 million. So if we translate the $500 million into a percentage this could leave us in the range of 20% to 30% of the float of the bank’s ownership,” Fayed said.

Of this, $50 million to $75 million would be sold to one or more anchor investors, Fayed said.

Banque du Caire is owned by state-owned Banque Misr, which in the mid-2000s took over Banque du Caire’s nonperforming loans in exchange for assets.

With assets of 183.4 billion Egyptian pounds ($11.70 billion) at the end of 2019, Banque du Caire ranks sixth or seventh among Egyptian banks.

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