Back to the complete issue
Monday, 28 October 2019

Is NBG Egypt’s unresolved pay disputes with its staff threatening its acquisition by Bank Audi?

M&A WATCH- Are NBG’s unresolved pay disputes with its staff threatening its acquisition by Bank Audi? The National Bank of Greece (NBG) is still to resolve a disagreement with its staff over its pending sale to Bank Audi, which is threatening to stall the acquisition, sources with knowledge of the matter told the local press.

What’s going on? NBG employees are alleging the changes are tantamount to wrongful termination and invoking article 122 of the labour law (pdf), claiming the bank must pay them the equivalent of severance (two months’ salary for each year they have worked at the company) before NBG is sold to Bank Audi. The CBE has reportedly made its sign-off on the transaction contingent on the resolution of the dispute. NBG asked the central bank for a grace period until the end of October to reach an agreement with its staff.

NBG’s legal advisor says nobody’s losing jobs or pay: Matouk Bassiouny, which is acting as NBG’s legal counsel on the transaction, explained in a memo to NBG staff yesterday that the current staff’s jobs are safe — with no change in salary — and that only employees who choose not to accept transfers to Bank Audi on conclusion of the sale would be eligible to receive buyouts, according to Al Mal.

CBE to intervene? If things aren’t smoothed over — by the end of October, we imagine — the CBE could intervene in the dispute, the sources said.

Background: NBG had decided to exit the market last year as part of a wider plan to reduce its overseas presence under an EU-supervised restructuring. Bank Audi had announced it will acquire NBG's Egypt arm, including a book of “mostly of Egyptian-risk loans, deposits and securities (total assets of c. EUR 110 mn), a branch network of 17 branches and c. 250 employees,” and has been awaiting CBE's approval to complete the transaction.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.