SocGen in talks to sell Egyptian bank

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Société Générale said it was in talks to sell its majority stake in its Egyptian subsidiary to Qatar National Bank – a day after the French bank announced it was readying the sale of its Greek subsidiary.

SocGen, like its French peers BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole, was hit by its exposure to vulnerable eurozone economies and was pushing through asset sales and other measures to reduce its balance sheet and meet new regulatory strictures.

The group said it had been approached by QNB about the potential acquisition of its 77 per cent stake in National Société Générale Bank, the second-largest quoted Egyptian bank, and had filed an application with the Central Bank of Egypt to allow due diligence.

NSGB, with a market capitalisation of $2.3bn, is SocGen’s fourth-biggest subsidiary by size of its deposits: it had deposits of €6.6bn at the end of 2011 and loans of €4.7bn.

SocGen said talks with QNB were at a preliminary stage, and there was no certainty a deal would be struck. QNB said earlier this year that it was pursuing a five-year plan to expand significantly in the Middle East and Africa.

On Wednesday, SocGen said it was in advanced talks to sell Geniki, its Greek subsidiary acquired in a 2004 privatisation, to Piraeus Bank as it sought to wipe out its remaining exposure to the beleaguered Greek economy.

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