Egyptian Billionaire's Bank Seeks Acquisitions to Bolster Growth

  • Beltone Financial wants to add leasing, consumer finance units
  • CEO Azab says lender has entered a ‘very big growth mode’

Naguib Sawiris

Photographer: Diego Levy/Bloomberg

Beltone Financial Holding SAE, the Egyptian investment bank owned by billionaire Naguib Sawiris, is planning financial acquisitions to diversify the products it offers in frontier and emerging markets.

"Beltone is in a very big growth mode," Chief Executive Officer Bassem Azab said in an interview in Cairo. "We spent the past two years establishing and re-positioning ourselves in investment banking, asset management and brokerage. Now that we have our pillars reinforced on the ground, we are looking at other business lines that we want to grow.”

The company is looking at acquisition opportunities in the leasing and consumer finance sectors in Egypt and might consider starting a micro-finance business, he said. Beltone is also looking to buy companies outside Egypt to diversify product offerings beyond equities, Azab said.

Following its acquisition by Sawiris’ Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE late in 2015, Beltone went through an ambitious turn around that saw it buying New York-based brokerage Auerbach Grayson & Co in 2016 to boost access to the U.S. market. Beltone’s revenues in the first nine months of 2017 surged as brokerage and investment banking revenues increased.

Beltone expects to manage as many as three initial public offerings in Egypt this year in the consumer, health-care and industrial sectors and has applied to co-manage a share sale in Nigeria, investment banking head, Sobhy El Sehrawy, said in the same interview. It also has an "aggressive" plan in 2018 to expand research coverage outside Egypt and add more analysts to its team, said Mostafa Abdel Aziz, the head of its brokerage unit.

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