NBK acquired 51 per of the bank in the privatisation process launched by Cairo, and made a subsequent offer to the bank’s remaining public shareholders to give it complete control.

Al-Wataany has 26 branches in Egypt and had assets worth $2.27bn at the end of 2007.

Ibrahim Dabdoub, chief executive officer of NBK, says that Al-Watany will be rebranded to reflect its position as part of NBK. He also plans to double the number of branches in the next two years and introduce more advanced banking systems.