Mashreqbank CEO confirms Interest in Citigroup Egypt Unit

Big 5

Mashreqbank PSC (MASQ), the Dubai-based lender, is interested in buying Citigroup Inc. (C)’s Egyptian consumer banking unit, Chief Executive Officer Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair said.

The company is one of several lenders already in talks with the U.S. bank and a sale could be completed by mid-2015, Al Ghurair told reporters yesterday in Dubai. The bank and rival Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES) are among lenders that submitted offers during the first round of bidding for the business, four people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg last week.

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.

“We’re in dialogue with Citi and the regulator in Egypt to explore the potential of this business,” said Al Ghurair.

Competitors including BNP Paribas SA (BNP) and Societe Generale SA (GLE) 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.

Mashreqbank said today that profit for 2014 rose by 33 percent to 2.4 billion dirhams.

Source: Bloomberg