CAIRO: The Ministry of Investment announced Tuesday it has selected Beltone Financial to prepare and execute the initial public offering of a 15 percent stake in the Bank of Alexandria (BoA) by the end of the year.
Beltone won the tender offered by the government late last month, although contract terms and deal value have not yet been announced. According to a Ministry of Investment statement, six firms applied to manage the deal including EFG-Hermes, Prime Capital, a consortium of BNP Paribas and Cairo Capital Group, another consortium bringing together the Arab African International Bank and the National Bank of Egypt and a third consortium of HC Brokerage and the Commercial International Bank.
In addition to the public offering, Beltone will also be responsible for managing the sale of 5 percent of the bank’s shares to its employees.
In August 2006 the government sold 80 percent of BoA to Italy’s Sanpaolo IMI Group for $1.61 billion (LE 9.2 billion). The new ownership has opted to keep the bank’s previous chairman, Mahmoud Abdel Latif, but has declined to publicize its plans to develop the bank as agreed upon with the government.
BoA’s issued capital stands at LE 800 million divided over 160 million shares. The bank is estimated to hold a 6 percent share of local deposits. Its client base reached more than 2 million by the end of 2005, up from 600,000 in 2002 when an aggressive government restructuring plan placed senior management of all four public banks in the hands of the private sector. New leadership cut down BoA’s work force by more than 15 percent to 7,000 workers at the end of 2005 and increased computer use.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the government has spent more than LE 8 billion to prepare the bank for privatization including LE 6.9 billion to settle its loan portfolio in 2006 and LE 450 million for early retirement packages.