VENTURES AFRICA – BNP Paribas, France’s biggest listed bank, has revealed plans to sell its retail banking operations in Egypt as the lender seeks to shore up its capital base and exit non-core operations.
Banking sources disclosed Tuesday that BNP, which has almost 70 branches in Egypt, is at the early stages of talks with potential investors and may raise as much as $400 million if the proposed sale goes through, one of the sources said, pleading anonymity.
According to reports, the French bank has been shedding assets to meet tougher capital requirements under new banking regulations that have forced many European banks to slash their balance sheets.
A spokeswoman for BNP said the lender would examine any “expressions of interest” for the business while declining to provide any additional details. Dow Jones reported the news earlier.
The anonymous source disclosed that Qatar National Bank (QNB), the largest lender in the Gulf Arab state, is one of the parties which has expressed initial interest.
Although BNP has retail, corporate banking and private banking operations in Egypt, it is only looking to sell the retail business, Reuters reported.
The Egyptian economy is still struggling to balance after last year’s uprising, which ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, chased most investors from the once attractive North African nation.