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EFG-Hermes Says Tapping Abu Dhabi Demand for Gulf Banking Deals

EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, the biggest publicly-traded Arab investment bank, said it’s working on an “extensive pipeline” of deals in the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council as financial markets recover.

Mandates include helping Abu Dhabi-based companies seeking to raise funds or offer exits to investors through private placements, Seif Fikry, chief executive office for the lower GCC, which excludes Saudi Arabia, said in an interview. Other potential deals include mergers in the region, he said from Dubai, declining to provide the names of companies.

“We have quite an extensive pipeline,” he said. “People started realizing that valuations are not as bad as they used to be, and people who have bought assets at much higher levels are happy to feel that things are picking up. This is the primary phase of an economic recovery.”

Equity markets in the U.A.E. have jumped this year as growth in the second-biggest Arab economy gathers momentum, propelled by tourism and higher-than-anticipated oil production. Dubai’s benchmark DFM General Index (DFMGI) has surged 79 percent, while Abu Dhabi’s gauge climbed 46 percent. Stock markets in the U.A.E. and Qatar were upgraded this year to emerging-market status by index provider MSCI Inc. (MSCI)

Shares Declined

Shares of EFG-Hermes, whose planned merger with Qatar’s QInvest LLC collapsed this year, fell 1.4 percent yesterday in Cairo, valuing the company at 4.77 billion Egyptian pound ($692 million.)

EFG-Hermes, founded in Egypt in 1984, advised government-controlled Dubai Group LLC on the $164 million sale of unit Dubai First to Abu Dhabi-based First Gulf Bank (FGB), a transaction that was completed last week. The investment bank also worked on the listing of BLME Holdings PLC (BLME) on Nasdaq Dubai (DPW) and is advising Al-Futtaim Group, a U.A.E. family-owned business, on a $90 million acquisition of CMC in Kenya.

Potential equity private placements involve Abu Dhabi-based companies in industries such as oil and gas, property, construction and agribusiness, Fikry said. The investment bank said in May it was picked by private equity firm Abraaj Group to advise on the sale of its controlling stake in supermarket chain Spinneys.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alaa Shahine in Dubai at; Stefania Bianchi in Dubai at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at; Andrew J. Barden at

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