National Bank of Egypt (NBE) is planning to follow up on the success of its $119 million global share sale two months ago with a second global depositary receipt (GDR) issue, a senior bank official said on 4 September.

GDR issues are slowly growing in popularity in the Arab world as a way for companies to attract foreign equity investment. The proposed NBE issue would be the fourth in the region and the first not to involve the shares of a bank.

Hussein Abdel-Aziz, general manager of NBEs investment department, told MEED that the bank was looking at six Egyptian industrial companies in which it owns shares and is considering a GDR issue for one or more of them. In July, NBE sold shares worth $119 million in Commercial International Bank (Egypt) through an issue of GDRs managed by ING Barings. The GDRs are listed in London.

Reuters, quoting businessmen and brokers in Cairo, reported that the GDR issue would cover all or most of NBE’s holding in Suez Cement Company and would also be managed by ING Barings. But Abdel-Aziz said that it would be premature to say that Suez Cement had been chosen.

GDRs are securities that give their owners rights on shares in a company. The receipts can be traded on international exchanges while the shares themselves are held by a custodian bank. GDRs offer a way for investors to enter emerging markets without facing the regulatory, technical and liquidity problems that might be entailed by owning and trading the shares directly.