CAIRO: Italy s Sanpaolo IMI will keep the current management of Bank of Alexandria, which it bought in an auction on Oct. 17 for $1.6 billion, the Italian bank said on Wednesday. Asked at an investment conference in Cairo if Sanpaolo would retain the current management, Giuseppe Cuccurese, the head of Sanpaolo IMI s foreign network said absolutely , and praised the performance of Bank of Alexandria s managers. We believe it has strong management at the top level, but also good management at the middle level, he said. Cuccurese also praised Bank of Alexandria President Mahmoud Abdel-Latif s work, and said Egypt would serve as a springboard for possible regional expansion. You will see soon Bank of Alexandria also outside the [Egyptian] market … Bank of Alexandria will be our platform if we have other opportunities in other countries in order to support Egyptian businesses, he said. He said the bank would seek to introduce new products into the Egyptian market, such as investment banking and mortgages. There is huge room for the financing and supporting of small and medium enterprises, he added. Sanpaolo already has holdings in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey, Cuccurese said. Sanpaolo signed the contract to buy 80 percent of Bank of Alexandria for $1.613 billion on Tuesday, turning the formerly state-owned institution into Egypt s largest private-sector bank.