Egyptian investment bank Naeem Holding is seeking investment opportunities in Bahrain and Qatar as part of a regional expansion plan in 2008, a company official told Reuters on Wednesday.
Basem el-Shawy, Naeem's director of investment relations, said detailed plans will be announced early in the year.
"We see the region as one entity but we want to reach out for fresh markets because being there early enough would give us a big jump start," he added.
Naeem Holding's CEO told Reuters in September that the company was planning funds worth $300 million to invest in Egyptian and regional property.
Naeem Holding is also about to finalise an acquisition of up to 100 percent of Saudi investment bank Naeem Saudi Arabia, which has no connection to Naeem Holding except for having shareholders in common, the official said.
The firm said in November it was seeking to acquire only between 75 and 80 per cent of Naeem Saudi Arabia for five times the Saudi company's expected net normalised earnings in 2008.
"We agreed on paying at this P/E ratio on a quarterly basis but we are still doing the final due diligence," Shawy said.
In November the company cancelled a plan to raise its capital by $80m because it had sufficient liquidity to finance its expansion from the more than $100m it made from the sale of its stake in AlWatany Bank of Egypt in October.
Nevertheless, Naeem might go for a capital increase by giving free shares in 2008, Shawy said.
"This reflects the good results we expect for 2007 but still will have to be approved by the shareholders in their meeting in March," he added.
The bank, which listed shares in Egypt in November 2006, said it made $38.4m of net profit in the first nine months of 2007. Profits are expected to jump in the fourth quarter due to the AlWatany transaction.
Naeem Holding's dollar-denominated shares were trading per cent at $2.60 per share at 0740 GMT. (Reuters)