NBK enters Egypt with Al Watany Bank buy
Cairo, April 2, 2008
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest bank in Kuwait, on Wednesday said that it has acquired the Al Watany Bank of Egypt (AWB) as part of its regional expansion strategy.
AWB currently runs 26 branches located in different cities in Egypt and has assets amounting to LE12.4 billion ($2.27 billion) and shareholders equity of LE 1.3 billion at end of 2007, said a bank official.
Ibrahim Dabdoub, chief executive officer of NBK Group, announced the merger at
a press conference in Cairo in the presence of NBK vice chairman Nasser Al Sayer and AWB managing director Yasser Hassan.
Dabdoub dubbed the acquisition as a significant milestone in NBK’s regional expansion strategy. 'It also reflects NBK’s increasing interest in the growing Egyptian banking sector. NBK believes that the Egyptian economy will continue its strong growth over the long term,' he noted.
'Egypt is the largest market in the Arab World with great growth and investment opportunities in all sectors and I am glad to see Egypt accelerating the pace of its privatisation program. We, in the GCC, should seize this opportunity. It is also the time for Egypt to be closer to the Gulf,' Dabdoub added.
According to Dabdoub, AWB would retain its name “Al Watany Bank of Egypt” in the local market while introducing a new logo and brand that highlights AWB as a new member of the NBK Group.
He said the NBK has plans to double the number of branches within the next two years and introduce more advanced banking products in the market.
'We expect AWB to further enhance the multi-faceted co-operation between Kuwait and Egypt and to encourage trade and investment flows between the two countries,' he added.
The NBK chief emphasized that over 400 Kuwaiti companies and organizations, most of them NBK clients, were currently involved in investment and business activities in Egypt, in addition to over 400,000 Egyptian expatriates living in Kuwait who need various financial and banking services.
He highlighted the significance of the deal for NBK's future in light of the magnitude of the Egyptian market and the deeply rooted and historical ties between the two countries.
'Egypt is in the midst of a broad-based economic boom. Robust inflows allied to an improving business environment have galvanized investment in a range of sectors,' he noted.
'Structural reform and rapid FDI inflows have energized the Egyptian economy, and based on strong domestic investment, real GDP growth should remain in a range of 6-7 per cent over the next two years as per the International Institute of Finance estimates, Dabdoub added.
“This year we concluded several significant deals. The acquisition of a 40 per cent stake in Turkish Bank, and the increase of our stake in the International Bank of Qatar to 30 per cent signal our commitment to regional expansion as a strategy to sustain the bank’s growth in the future,” he noted.
NBK currently enjoys the largest presence in Kuwait with 67 branches, as well as a growing international representation in many of the world financial centers such as London, Paris, New York, and Singapore, as well as in China (Shanghai) and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City).-TradeArabia News Service