Egyptian lender CIB to buy Citi’s Egypt retail business
Hisham Ezz al-Arab -YOUM7(Archive)

REUTERS: Commercial International Bank (COMI.CA) (CIB) has agreed to buy Citigroup’s (C.N) consumer banking business in Egypt, the North African country’s largest listed lender said on Tuesday.

The deal will add 80,000 credit card holders to CIB’s existing 240,000, growing its share of the market by 33 percent, the bank’s chief executive told Reuters.

“Combining both would make a quantum leap… that will make us the number one issuer of credit card business (in Egypt)”, Hisham Ezz al-Arab said in a telephone interview.

Citigroup said around 900 staff, eight branches and Citi’s ATM network will transfer to CIB as part of the deal.

Ezz al-Arab said CIB would retain all of Citi’s staff and had no plans to close any branches for the time being.

Neither statement gave a value for the deal, but Ezz al-Arab said the number “complies with what CIB is making in terms of return on assets and return on equities.”

The U.S. bank said last October that it was pulling out of consumer banking in 11 markets, including Egypt and Japan, to cut costs.

The sale of the Egypt consumer business had attracted considerable interest from lenders across the Middle East interested in building exposure to Egypt’s recovering economy.

But CIB emerged as one of the front runners and in April put in an offer for the business.

CIB said it was also attracted by Citi’s large wealth management business, also included as part of the deal.

Citi’s net investment in Egypt was around $250 million as of mid-2013, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Citi, which has had a presence in Egypt since 1975, would continue to invest in its institutional clients business, Nadir Shaikh, Citi country officer for Egypt, was quoted as saying in the bank’s statement.

Ezz al-Arab said CI Capital, CIB’s investment banking arm, had advised on the transaction. The deal was expected to close on Oct. 1.

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