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HSBC sells CIE stake to Credit Agricole – source

London-based bank HSBC Holdings Plc is selling its stake in Credit International d'Egypte (CIE) to France's Credit Agricole and an Egyptian business group, a source said.

The source said HSBC was selling 75% of its 90% stake in the commercial bank to Credit Agricole and the remaining 25% to Mansour Maghrabi, an Egyptian business group. The price tag was not immediately known.

HSBC did not comment on the sale. A Credit Agricole spokeswoman in Paris declined to comment. No one could immediately be reached at either the Mansour Group or at Maghrabi for comment.

CIE shares rose LE1.58, or the maximum 5% allowed per session, to LE33.85 early on Monday, giving the company a market capitalisation of LE203.87 million ($52.54 million).

HSBC has owned the stake in CIE since taking over its former owner Credit Commercial de France, banking analysts said. The remaining 10% or so is owned by bank employees or freely floated.

HSBC had been expected to sell CIE since it had already acquired a local banking operation by increasing its stake in a bank formerly known as Egyptian-British bank, which has since been renamed HSBC.

Credit Agricole has been seeking acquisitions in after its Credit Agricole Indosuez bid unsuccessfully last year for Misr America International Bank (MAIB) .

Predators wait

Several other foreign banks have been seeking acquisitions in Egypt, including Standard Chartered and National Bank of Kuwait. Egyptian American Bank (EAB) last week said it was up for sale but did not name a buyer.

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CSFB banking analyst Ghassan Medawar said that foreign banks have usually had to pay a premium for banking acquisitions in Egypt because authorities give no banking licences for greenfield operations to encourage consolidation. In terms of absolute numbers of banks, Egypt is overbanked, Medawar said.

“But in terms of branches which offer retail banking and services, it is very much underbanked. That is what attracts foreign players,” he said. “Definitely, relative to other sectors in recent years, the banking sector is one of the leading sectors for foreign direct investment in the country,” he added.

“It has fuelled a lot of foreign and regional interest.”

A research report by Cairo's HC Brokerage highlighted the opportunity presented by retail banking in Egypt. “Retail banking products have long neglected a 66.5 million population, with rising per-capita income,” it said.

“Egypt's population is concentrated in 5% of Egypt's area, meaning minimal branch network expansion to increase effective penetration. Pent-up demand for retail banking products, such as personal loans, durable goods loans, debit and credit cards, was not met by banks in the past.”

(Additional reporting by Clelia Oziel in London).

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This article was first published by Reuters on 21 May 2001.

Author

  • Khaled Diab

    Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the and the UN, as well as civil . Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled's life has been divided between the and Europe. He grew up in Egypt and the , and has lived in , on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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Khaled Diab

Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: Islam for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil society. Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled’s life has been divided between the Middle East and Europe. He grew up in Egypt and the UK, and has lived in Belgium, on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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