Kuwait’s Al Ahli gets Kuwaiti Watchdog nod to buy Piraeus Bank Egypt

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Kuwait’s Al Ahli Bank (ABK) received approval from the Gulf state’s central bank to buy the Egyptian unit of Piraeus Bank’s, it said Monday.

Al Ahli Bank is still waiting for assent from Egypt’s central bank (CBE) for the deal, it said in a bourse filing Monday.

It will pay US$150 million cash for a 98.5 percent stake in the unit, a deal which will support the regional expansion plans of Kuwait’s seventh-largest bank by assets and give the Greek lender a much-needed boost to liquidity.

Established in 1967, Kuwait’s Al Ahli Bank has a retail network of 31 branches and two overseas branches in Dubai and Abu-Dhabi, UAE.

In May this year, Fawzy al-Thunayan, general manager of board affairs at the bank, told Reuters: “(Buying it) will cost us $150 million, which is not a great sum for us. We will finance the deal from our sources,”

Thunayan added the deal would help with the bank’s regional expansion, but declined to talk about specific plans for Piraeus Bank Egypt.

Piraeus Bank Egypt, which was bought by the Greek lender in 2005, has 39 branches and total assets worth 9.66 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.27 billion) at the end of March, according to its website.