• The Central Bank of Kuwait approves Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait’s offer to acquire Piraeus Bank Egypt
  • Al-Ahli Bank will pay $150m for 98.5 per cent of Piraeus Egypt’s shares
  • The Central Bank of Egypt must approve the deal before it can be finalised

Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait received approval from the Kuwait Central Bank for its proposed acquisition of Greek Piraeus Bank’s Egyptian subsidiary on 5 July.

It must now wait for the Egyptian Central Bank to approve the deal, according to a statement to the Kuwait Stock Exchange.

Al-Ahli Bank plans to buy 98.5 per cent of shares in Piraeus Bank Egypt for $150m, following a agreement signed in May 2015.

This values Piraeus Bank Egypt at 1.5 times its book value at the end of 2014, according to Bloomberg.

Piraeus Bank Egypt recorded profits of E£14.9m ($1.9m) in 2014, and had total assets of E£9bn at the end of the year.

It has 39 branches across the country, and focuses on retail customers and small and medium enterprises.

Gulf countries have poured billions of dollars into Egypt’s economy since 2013, providing $14.7bn in grants. They have also placed $6bn in long-term deposits in Egypt to shore up banking system’s banking system.

Al-Ahli’s investment shows there is renewed confidence around investing in the country. The acquisition will give the Kuwaiti bank access to the Middle East’s largest market. However, the majority of financing needed to support Egypt’s economic recovery is likely to come from international investors, as Egyptian banks lack the capacity and liquidity.

The sale will give Piraeus some much needed liquidity as Greek banks are crippled by the country’s debt crisis.