Egyptian bank EFG-Hermes weighs Southeast Asian acquisition

Karim Awad, CEO of EFG-Hermes. (Bloomberg pic)

LONDON: EFG-Hermes is considering an expansion into Southeast Asia as Egypt’s biggest investment bank seeks to grow in emerging markets.

The Cairo-headquartered company, which operates in 12 countries, is “looking at potentially one or two” new markets this year, Chief Executive Officer Karim Awad said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Dubai on Sunday.

The investment won’t be “too big” and would involve “building market share from the ground up,” he said.

EFG-Hermes, the top adviser for initial public offerings in MENA last year, bought Nigerian brokerage and research firm Primera Africa Securities in July, as part of its broader African expansion.

The investment bank, which obtained a stockbroking license in Kenya in 2017, plans to use Nigeria as a regional hub.

The bank this year plans to focus on consolidation in markets its recently entered, including those in Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The company also sees an opportunity to expand in Vietnam, Ali Khalpey, the company’s CEO of its frontier unit said in November.