Bahrain's ABC says in preliminary talks to buy Blom Bank's Egypt business

DUBAI, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Bahrain’s Bank ABC said on Tuesday it was in preliminary talks to buy Blom Bank’s Egyptian subsidiary, pitting it against Dubai’s Emirates NBD, which is also a potential bidder.

Blom has hired CI Capital to advise on a sale that could fetch $250 million to $300 million as the Lebanese lender tries to boost its capital, Reuters reported last month, citing two sources familiar with the deal.

Blom had approached potential bidders including Dubai’s biggest bank, Emirates NBD, the sources said. Emirates NBD confirmed on Aug. 13 it was interested.

Lebanese banks are trying to strengthen their finances as the country endures its worst financial crisis since the civil war.

Blom’s domestic rival Bank Audi tried to sell its Egyptian business, but the deal stalled in May after First Abu Dhabi Bank halted talks, citing the uncertain outlook relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FAB plans to restart talks to buy the Egyptian business of Bank Audi, Reuters reported this week (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)