EFG-Hermes Says QInvest Takeover Delayed by Regulators

EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, Egypt’s biggest investment bank, said its sale to Qatar’s QInvest LLC has been delayed as regulators in the Middle East scrutinize the takeover.

“It is mainly because of regulatory approvals that the conclusion of the deal is taking longer than expected,” Hanzada Nessim, investor-relations manager at Cairo-based EFG-Hermes, said by phone yesterday. The deal, announced in March, was expected to be concluded in November.

QInvest, a unit of Qatar Islamic Bank, and EFG-Hermes plan to create an investment bank with operations in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, as well as southern and southeastern Asia.

“We require approval in some jurisdictions where EFG has physical presence,” Nessim said.

EFG operates in Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates in addition to its home market, according to its website.

Ashraf El Sharkawy, chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, said two days ago that it hasn’t yet approved the transfer of EFG-Hermes’ Egyptian assets to the new, Qatari-based entity. Qatar’s regulator has given the necessary approvals, Mona Zulficar, EFG-Hermes’ non-executive chairwoman, said by phone.

Doha-based QInvest will invest $250 million in the venture and take a majority stake in the new company, which will include EFG’s main investment-banking, asset-management and brokerage businesses. It will exclude EFG-Hermes’s private-equity business and Credit Libanais SAL unit. The Qatari company also has an option to buy total ownership of the venture.

EFG’s shares rose 10 percent in 2012, trailing the EGX30 Benchmark Index’s 50 percent gain. The bank’s shares were up 1 percent at the close in Cairo today.