Egypt central bank seeks advisor for United Bank sale -sources

Egypt's Central Bank headquarters are seen in downtown Cairo
Egypt's Central Bank headquarters are seen in downtown Cairo, Egypt, March 22, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO, March 9 (Reuters) - Egypt's central bank has sent investment banks a request for proposals to pitch for an advisory role in the sale of United Bank of Egypt, which the central bank owns, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Several big Western banks have received the request, one of the sources said. The search for advisors comes after talks with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund to acquire United Bank failed after disagreement over its valuation.

The Central Bank of Egypt did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

United Bank is one of three banks the government placed on a list last month for potential sale, along with Arab African International Bank and Banque du Caire (BQDC.CA), as it tries to resolve a severe foreign currency shortage.

The list contained 32 companies the government planned to sell stakes in by the end of March 2024. Since then the government has announced stakes in other companies potentially up for sale as well.

Egypt is seeking to raise cash after its financial markets were hit by heavy foreign investment outflows in the wake of the Ukraine war, throwing the economy into crisis. In December, it signed a $3 billion support package with the International Monetary Fund.

The finance ministry said last month it was seeking to sell the 20% stake in AlexBank that it still owns. Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) bought the other 80% in 2006.

Analysts say shares in the Housing and Development Bank (HDBK.CA), in which the government has a 59.5% stake, may also be up for sale.

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh and Patrick Werr; Writing by Yousef Saba and Patrick Werr; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Shri Navaratnam and Susan Fenton

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