Good news for the Egyptian investment community, following the debacle last month when the British supermarket group, Sainsbury, withdrew from the country, taking a loss of about £125 million. According to the Sunday Times, Standard Chartered is planning to launch a bid for Egyptian America Bank (EAB) for $300 million.
According to the weekly, as a first step Standard Chartered will purchase the shares held in EAB by American Express (Amex), which holds a half-share. The Egyptian government, which also is a shareholder through its holdings in Bank of Alexandria, is also believed to be considering selling, although it may prefer to hold on to at least part of its shareholding.
Standard Chartered is known to be looking to expand its foothold in the Middle East. It managed to do so last year in its takeover of Grindlays—an offshore bank with a strong presence in the region. But Standard Chartered’s management still believes there is a gap in the important Egyptian market.
Standard Chartered already operates offices in Bahrain, Iran, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
EAB is believed to be a particularly attractive prospect for Standard Chatered. Due to its shareholding in the Amex group, it has been forced to comply with international auditing and accounting standards.
Standard Chartered is one of the world's leading emerging markets bank employing 32,000 people in 615 offices across 56 countries, primarily in Asia, the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. – (MENA Report)
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