Egypt Said to Hire Citigroup to Weigh Stake Sale in Lender AAIB

  • Size of stake sale in Arab African International undecided
  • Citigroup said assessing valuation for a potential sale

Egypt has appointed Citigroup Inc. as financial adviser to help with a potential sale of its stake in Arab African International Bank, according to people familiar with the matter.

Central bank authorities are still determining the size of the holding they want to sell and whether to pursue an initial public offering or a sale to a third party, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Citigroup is studying the asset’s potential value and the feasibility of the different options, the people said.

The sale is part of Egypt’s plan to offload stakes of key state-owned firms and banks, including Banque du Caire SAE, and oil companies. Central Bank governor Tarek Amer said in January that offering shares of AAIB and BDC publicly would boost Egypt’s stock exchange making it "one of the strongest in emerging markets."

Amer said in March that the bank and its Kuwaiti partners would each offer 20 percent of their stake in AAIB on the Egyptian stock exchange, aiming to complete the deal by the end of the year.

The move comes as Egypt seeks to secure a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund officials say will help restore investor confidence and end a foreign currency crisis that has hammered economic growth. The country has been reliant on aid from friendly Gulf Arab nations since the 2011 public uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Arab African International, which has assets of about $13 billion, was set up in 1964 as a joint venture between the Central Bank of Egypt and sovereign wealth fund Kuwait Investment Authority, with each party holding a 49.37 percent stake in the lender.

Amer didn’t answer a call seeking comment. Calls made to AAIB’s chairman and vice chairman’s offices after working hours were not answered. A representative for Citigroup declined to comment.

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