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Monday, 8 February 2021

State-owned giants eyeing investment banks?

Are state-owned banks making a play for some of the country’s leading investment banks?

CI Capital shares soared more than 9% today as Banque Misr made an offer to acquire an undisclosed stake, according to a statement by the Financial Regulatory Authority (pdf). Banque Misr already holds a 24.7% stake in the EGX-listed investment bank, which has a robust Egyptian IPO pipeline right now and is consistently the #2 ranked securities brokerage in the country. We’re keeping our eye on the situation and hope to have an update in time for the AM edition tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Banque du Caire hasn’t bought HC Securities. Reports this morning that BdC was snapping up a controlling stake in investment bank HC Securities need to be taken with a grain of salt: BdC has not made a formal acquisition offer, nor has an agreement been reached, officials at HC tell us, adding that nobody is doing due diligence on the firm right now. The story started in Al Borsa, which cited an unnamed source.

There’s precedent: Look no further than the (fairly recent) acquisition of Pharos by NBE’s Ahly Capital and of Arabeya Online by NI Capital.

CI Capital has been getting plenty of attention in recent weeks after a management webinar piqued the interest of the sell-side amid ongoing investor interest in Egypt’s booming non-bank financial services sector. Prime’s Sherif El Etr notes that CI is “a couple of years late” to the non-bank financial services game (pointing specifically to consumer and mortgage finance), but says “there is ample room for these segments to grow in this under-served market, hence we believe CICH will eventually see its ventures bear fruit.” Pharos’ Dalia Bonna leads with the expected 1Q IPO of Taleem, the education platform in which CI Capital holds a c. 16.5% stake. CI doesn’t have a traditional private equity arm, but invested in Taleem from its own balance sheet under its merchant banking program. Bonna also notes that CI Capital doesn’t expect to be negatively hit by provisions for bad loans thanks to covid or by rate cuts.

CI Capital shares closed up 9.4% today at EGP 4.54 amid word of Banque Misr’s intention to up its stake.

What Pharos is saying: CICH is a “buy” with a fair value of EGP 5.00 per share.

What Prime is saying: Go “overweight” with a fair value of EGP 5.20 per share.

Other ways into the same sector: EFG Hermes (+5.3% YTD) was the first of the investment banks to launch an NBFS division and now offers exposure to leasing, factoring, consumer finance, payment solutions, microfinance and merchant finance, among other offerings. Orascom Financial Holding will offer exposure to investment bank Beltone Financial (+19.9% YTD), consumer and structured finance player Sarwa Capital (flat so far this year) and future NBFS ventures when it’s spun out from OIH in the weeks to come.

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