* Deals expected to close over next 18 months
* Aims to lift financial portfolio 1-2 bln pounds in 2018
* Expanding into areas such as financial leasing, factoring (Adds quotes and background)
By Ehab Farouk
CAIRO, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Egyptian investment bank Pharos Holding is advising on 7.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($428 million) worth of deals expected to close over the next 18 months in sectors ranging from food retail to chemicals, its chief executive told Reuters.
The deals reflect a broader move by the Cairo-based company to build up business outside the banking industry, including expanding its asset management business and entering areas such as insurance, real estate financing, and financial leasing.
Pharos has been picked as a financial adviser on about 17 deals, CEO Elwy Taymour said in an interview.
“We have actually signed the contracts to provide financial advice,” he said. “We aim to complete the deals in 18 months, worth about 7.5 billion pounds ... the deals range from acquisitions, mergers and offerings on the stock exchange, to companies increasing their corporate capital.”
“We are talking about companies operating in the food, retail, healthcare and chemical industries,” Taymour said.
Pharos is one of Egypt’s largest financial institutions, providing investment banking, asset management, securities brokerage, and book-keeping services.
Speaking from his office overlooking the Nile, Taymour said Pharos managed financial portfolios worth about 4 billion pounds - about 90 percent in debt instruments and 10 percent in shares.
He said it aimed to increase that portfolio by “between 1 to 2 billion pounds next year,” adding it was trying to attract money from abroad to bring investment to the country, rather than seeking funds from local banks.
Pharos has opened a company in Dubai that received its work permit in May, Taymour said.
“Through our office in Dubai, we seek to provide consulting services and cover the Gulf region for our customers ... we are looking into having a presence in Britain,” he added.
Pharos also received licences from Egypt’s Financial Supervisory Authority in February to operate financial leasing and microfinance - or small-scale lending - businesses.
“We have strong interest in such activities and we see great growth opportunities in them,” Taymour said.
Pharos made 120 million pounds of revenues last year and is aiming for 200-250 million pounds in 2019/2020.
The company, founded in 2005, is 70 percent-owned by the Taymour family, 20 percent by Sheikh Abdulla Al-Rajhy, and 10 percent by employees. (Writing by Amina Ismail; Editing by Patrick Markey and Mark Potter)