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Thursday, 31 March 2022

National Bank of Egypt ups stake in Fawry — is a stake sale to ADQ next?

Another state-owned bank appears to have just bought a chunk of Fawry, likely setting up the sale of the government-controlled stake to Abu Dhabi’s ADQ. The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has upped its stake in Fawry, less than a week after Banque Misr more than doubled its holdings in the fintech firm. The EGX-listed company announced yesterday that stakes totalling 6% of the company’s shares had changed hands and been acquired by an unnamed investor. Consensus in the press is that the buyer was the National Bank of Egypt (see: Bloomberg Asharq, Hapi Journal, Al Mal, and Al Shorouk). A top NBE official declined to confirm or deny the news when we asked yesterday.

Running the numbers: The state-owned bank paid more than EGP 1 bn in a block transaction, handing it some 102.5 mn shares at EGP 10.25 apiece. This raised its total stake in the company to 12.25%, making it the second-biggest shareholder after Banque Misr.

Who’s selling? The sellers were international investors, including Link Holdco and Black Sparrow Long Term Investments (which Fawry has previously said was controlled by FIM Partners), Asharq reported, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

This would be the second state-owned bank to purchase shares in the fintech darling in the past week: Banque Misr last week purchased an 8.85% stake in a EGP 1.47 bn transaction, upping its ownership to 15.8%. Between them, the banks now own more than 28% of the company, up from around 13.2%.

All the more to sell to ADQ, which will reportedly purchase an undisclosed stake in the company as part of a USD 2 bn investment agreed earlier this month to shore up Egypt’s finances as its balance of payments comes under pressure from rising commodity prices. The Abu Dhabi wealth fund will acquire government-owned stakes in five EGX-listed firms including leading private sector bank CIB, Abu Qir Fertilizers, Mopco, and Alexandria Container & Cargo Handling.

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