The National Bank of Egypt's investment arm has expressed an interest in CI Capital, a subsidiary of Commercial International Bank (CIB) which has accepted a LE1 billion Egyptian (US$128 million) bid from Orascom Telecom and Technology (OTMT).
In a statement dated February 4 that appeared on the Cairo exchange on Sunday, CIB said the written interest from state-owned National Bank of Egypt's Al Ahly Capital did not include a non-binding offer, or an indicative price.
"As we have already received a non-binding offer from a potential buyer which was disclosed on December 17, accordingly, we highlighted to the interested party that they are requested to sign a non-disclosure agreement and present a non-binding offer," CIB said.
OTMT plans to merge CI Capital with Beltone Financial, which it bought in November for almost LE650 million.
OTMT is owned by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, one of the country's most prominent businessmen and founder of the Free Egyptians political party, which had a strong performance in recent parliamentary elections.
NBE's expression of interest could threaten Sawiris's hopes of consolidating his new stake in Egypt's financial services markets. NBE has 50 percent market share of Egypt's banking industry, estimated at between eight and 10 million clients.
Sawiris had previously tried to buy EFG Hermes, the largest investment bank in the Middle East, through his New Egypt Investment Fund, but the bid was unsuccessful.
OTMT began a due diligence process checking CI Capital's books in January. That process is set to complete by Thursday, a CI Capital source told Reuters.
OTMT has holdings in media, technology and cable businesses as well as energy, transport and logistics.
CI Capital is working on four initial public offerings this year in the construction, consumption and tourism sectors. It also plans to open a brokerage firm in the United Arab Emirates in the second quarter of this year.