Egypt sells its minority stake in payment company e-finance

CAIRO, Sept. 19 (Reuters) – Egyptian payments firm e-finance for digital and financial investments announced on Sunday that it would offer up to 14.5% of its capital in a first public offering in the fourth quarter 2021.

Founded in 2005, e-finance said in a statement that it was the only entity authorized to operate the government’s financial network, including the processing and settlement of payment and collection transactions.

The sale is one of many planned for this year.

In May, Egypt sold a 51% stake in state-owned Arab Investment Bank (AIB) to private company EFG Hermes (HRHO.CA), its first sale of a majority bank stake since 2006.

The government announced in 2018 its intention to sell minority stakes in nearly two dozen companies, but those sales have been repeatedly delayed by market downturns and more recently by the coronavirus pandemic.

e-finance has announced that it will list 177.8 million new shares on the stock exchange and 80 million shares held by current shareholders, from institutional and retail investors.

Among its shareholders are three state-owned banks: the National Investment Bank, with 63.64%, and the National Bank of Egypt and Bank Misr, each with 9.09%, according to the 2019 e-finance annual report.

Egyptian Banks Company, a payment operator run by the central bank, and a company called Egyptian Company for Investment Projects each own an additional 9.09%.

E-finance revenue reached 1.23 billion Egyptian pounds ($ 78 million) in 2020 and 904 million pounds in the first half of 2021, representing a compound annual growth rate of 30% in 2018-20, according to the press release.

The sale is subject to market conditions and regulatory approvals, the statement added.

($ 1 = 15,7300 Egyptian pounds)

Report by Patrick Werr; Editing by Alexander Smith

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