The central bank of Egypt has requested bids from investment banks to compete for an advising position in the sale of United Bank of Egypt, which it now owns, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.
One of the individuals indicated that the request has been received by several significant Western banks. The hunt for advisors follows the failure of negotiations to purchase United Bank with the royal wealth fund of Saudi Arabia due to disagreements about 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, 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 bought the other 80% in 2006.
Analysts say shares in the Housing and Development Bank, in which the government has a 59.5% stake, may also be up for sale.