Kuwait’s Al Ahli to change Piraeus Bank Egypt’s Brand by end 2015

Kuwait’s Al Ahli Bank (ABK) aims to change the brand of Piraeus Bank Egypt after getting the approvals of Egypt’s Central Bank (CBE) and Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA).

ABK is expected to officially own Piraeus Bank Egypt within the third or fourth quarter of 2015 after getting the approvals, Chief General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Michel Akkad said Thursday.

He added that the new brand of all branches of Piraeus Bank Egypt; estimated at 39 branched, will be changed to Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait- Egypt.

ABK is currently finishing the necessary procedures to capture Piraeus Bank, the official stated.

Kuwait’s Al Ahli Bank (ABK) paid $150 million for a 98.5 percent stake in the Egyptian unit of Greece’s Piraeus Bank, using its own cash resources to support a regional expansion drive, the bank announced on a statement.

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.

Al Ahli Bank, with assets worth 3.58 billion dinars ($11.86 billion), has branches in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, according to its website.

Both lenders stand to benefit from the transaction.

Greek banks have been offloading assets as they seek to cope with the country’s debt crisis, with concerns increasing in recent weeks that banks’ liquidity is drying up as Greece’s government tries to renegotiate with its creditors.

For the Kuwaiti lender the deal is the latest in the North African country by Gulf Arab banks looking to expand beyond their highly competitive domestic markets and increase their profitability.

Shares in Piraeus Bank traded up 1.1 percent at 1203 GMT, having gained as much as 1.8 percent after the announcement was made by the Kuwaiti lender after market hours in the Gulf nation. Al Ahli Bank earlier closed flat.