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Banque Misr and Al Ahly Capital Holding (ACH) concluded a 50/50 acquisition deal, acquiring a 40% stake in IBAG, which is the agent of Western Union International in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The ceremony was attended by Mr. Mohamed El Etreby – Chairman of Banque Misr – Mr. Hisham Okasha – Chairman of NBE, Chairman of ACH – Mr. Karim Saadeh – Managing Director of ACH – Mr. Akef El Maghraby – Vice Chairman of Banque Misr – and Mr. Yehia Aboul Futouh – Vice Chairman of NBE. The ceremony was also attended by Mr. Mustafa Serhank – Chairman of the Board of IBAG – Mr. Jean-Claude Farah – President of the Global Network – Mr. Hatim Soliman – Deputy Chairman Middle East and South Asia – and Ms. Dina Mehanna – Senior Manager Near East and Egypt – as representatives of Western Union, in addition to team members of the relevant parties.

Mr. Mohamed El Etreby – Chairman of Banque Misr – stated that this partnership was considered a step towards integrating the informal remittances sector with the banking sector, strengthening financial inclusion and reiterating the directives of the Central Bank of Egypt. It also attests to the role played by Banque Misr in supporting the Egyptian economy, coupled with the necessity of expanding the base of targeted customers. Mr. El Etreby asserted that the partnership with IBAG constituted a link with the non-banking sector and a means for supporting technological transformation, which is anticipated through the online remittances services set to be rendered by the company.

Following the signature, Mr. Hisham Okasha reported that the deal comes in line with the strive by NBE and its investment arm to integrate the segment of targeted customers into the banking sector and to undertake formal remittance transactions. This, he added, would be through the provisioning of a suite of banking services that accommodate the needs of this customer segment, while contributing to boosting foreign cash flows in general and remittances by Egyptian expatriates, in particular. He alluded that the deal comes in light of the growing investment efforts by ACH in non-banking services, which the company has expanded in considerably and achieved rapid growth, among which are online remittances that support NBE’s as well as the state’s strategy towards digital transformation.

On his part, Mr. Karim Saadeh expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to collaborate with IBAG, whose team incorporates efficient and competent members, adding that this cooperation is bound to strengthen the presence of ACH in the domain of non-banking services. Mr. Saadeh noted that ACH had previous invested in this field via Al Ahly for Financing, Services and Electronic Payment Holding, which is considered NBE’s online payment platform. This is in addition to the acquisition by ACH the previous year of Pharos Securities and Pharos IPO Promotion and Coverage.

Mr. Akef El Maghraby added that Banque Misr’s confidence in the competency of the company’s team and its continued ability to drive the status of the company culminated in agreeing to allow the current executive team to continue to manage the company. This is while according the team any needed support via representatives from both Banque Misr and NBE to ensure the best possible outcomes, moving forward.

On a similar note, Mr. Mustafa Serhank – Chairman of the Board of IBAG – reiterated his gratitude and appreciation for the participation of such reputable entities as Banque Misr and NBE, which he considered to be a qualitative development to the company’s operations within Egypt, owing to their substantial support of the national economy. He further acknowledged that the presence of reps of both banks in the company’s board will undoubtedly instill a strategic direction that will strengthen the national role played by the company in activating financial inclusion and establishing a close presence to the company’s clients in Egypt. This is to be done via vertical expansion, by offering new online services such as the mobile wallet and digital solutions rendered by Western Union overseas; as well as horizontal expansion by way of promulgating a network of branches with an outreach to all current and targeted customers.

On his part, Mr. Jean-Claude Farah – President of the Global Network Western Union – stated that IBAG is considered one of the most important and reputable strategic partners in Egypt and expressed Western Union’s appreciation of this enduring partnership that has long been based on innovation and dedication in offering high quality services and exceptional solutions to customers in Egypt. Mr. Farah congratulated the company on this new achievement, which constitutes a qualitative addition to its impressive track record, noting its dedication to continuing its strive for strengthening financial inclusion, supporting digital transformation and boosting the country’s economic growth.

Worth noting is that IBAG is considered the oldest agent for Western Union International in Egypt. It was established in 1995 and through its 38 branches – distributed throughout the Republic – renders exceptional services to more than 2 million existing customers, with total remittances amounting to 2.4 million transactions, valued at USD 1.3 billion annually. This has undoubtedly had a positive impact on increasing the banking sector’s USD proceeds and supporting the national economy.

Dr. Zaki Hashem and Partners assumed the role of legal advisor for both ACH and Banque Misr, whereas Ernst & Young performed the financial and taxation due diligence studies; with Misr Capital being the financial advisor of Banque Misr; and Yahya Kadry and Bahaa-Eldin Law Office in cooperation with BonelliErede assuming the role of legal advisor for IBAG shareholders.