Emirates NBD frontrunner to buy BNP Paribas arm

Deal likely to raise $400-500m for French lender

Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest bank, has emerged as the frontrunner to buy BNP Paribas' Egyptian retail business, three sources familiar with the matter said, in a deal likely to raise $400-500 million for the French lender.

BNP, France's biggest listed bank, put its retail banking business in Egypt on the block in June, seeking to shore up its capital base and exit non-core operations.

The sale attracted interest among large regional lenders including ENBD and Morocco's Attijariwafabank, which were looking to gain a foothold in Egypt.

ENBD's offer for the business was highest in a second round of bidding that took place earlier in December, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter has not been made public.

A spokesman for the Dubai bank declined to comment, as did BNP Paribas. Officials at Attijari were not immediately available for comment.

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