Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo Group has started preliminary talks with the Egyptian government to acquire the remaining 20% of the Bank of Alexandria (ALEXBANK) it does not own as the North African country seeks to raise cash after its financial markets suffered heavy foreign investment outflows last year.
“We have many opportunities that contribute to enhancing the bank’s presence in Egypt and the region, supporting the economy by serving our clients,” said Andrea Fazzolari, Head of the Governance Systems and Strategic Initiatives Department in Intesa Sanpaolo’s International Subsidiary Banks Divisions.
Fazzolari said ALEXBANK has proven to be highly efficient and professional, adding that the banking group is working on digitisation at the forefront.
Egypt sold 80% of ALEXBANK for $1.6 billion to Sanpaolo IMI in a major privatisation deal in 2006. Sanpaolo IMI would merge with Banca Intesa the following year to create what is now Italy’s largest banking group.
Dante Campioni, the CEO and Managing Director of ALEXBANK, said that his bank has achieved positive performance in the Egyptian market, and the performance of the banking sector as a whole in the last period has been notably positive.
“Currently, we are focusing on improving ALEXBANK’s digital transactions. We do not have any plans for a separate digital bank at the moment. Our focus is to enhance digital services and transactions and the dedicated digital platform for the future,” he said.
Campioni also said the bank’s performance is supported by the high-interest rates environment that favours the financial services sector. He confirmed that ALEXBANK primarily relies on financing retail sectors and small and medium-sized projects, as these sectors are the most important.
Intesa Sanpaolo owns 80% of ALEXBANK after buying back in 2020 a 9.75% stake it had sold to International Finance Corporation in a deal that was reportedly valued at $161.8 million. ALEXBANK is one of Egypt’s main private sector banks with 175 branches and 1.6 million customers.