EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, the Arab world’s biggest investment bank, has started hiring across all its departments as the Egyptian economy stabilizes and its financial markets improve.
“For the first time since Egypt’s political crisis, we are back to hiring staff,” Karim Awad, the bank’s co-chief executive, said in an interview in London yesterday. “We are not hiring in huge numbers but there is at least one vacancy in each of our departments, be it advisory, asset management or private equity.”
Investment banking activity in Egypt is reviving amid improving markets and renewed political stability, after the nation elected former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi as president. The country’s benchmark EGX 30 stock index has gained 41 percent this year, prompting companies to revive share sales and seek capital for growth.
EFG has benefited from renewed investor appetite for Egypt, with its stock price more than doubling year-to-date. The bank is planning to expand geographically into Africa and is re-focusing attention on private-equity investments. It expects to make an acquisition along with co-investors within a month, Awad said.
“We are looking at all kinds of options to expand into Africa in the next 18 to 24 months and we will most likely partner with someone else,” he said.
Companies including Edita Food Industries SAE, a snacks maker part-owned by London-based buyout firm Actis LLP, and a subsidiary of Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the Dubai-based developer of the world’s tallest tower, are considering initial public offerings in Cairo to take advantage of resurgent stock prices.
“The IPO pipeline is the best we have seen in the last four to five years in Egypt,” Ahmed El-Guindy, EFG’s investment banking head said.
Mergers and acquisitions activity in the country is limited to deals in the $200 million to $500 million range, El-Guindy said. “We still haven’t seen big-ticket M&A discussions where deal size is more than a billion dollars.”