EFG-Hermes in deal to buy Omani brokerage


Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes has signed a deal to buy a 51 per cent stake in Omani brokerage Vision Securities for $15.3 million, EFG-Hermes said on Monday.

EFG-Hermes, Egypt's largest investment bank, said it would assume management control of the Omani business, which made a net profit after tax of $2.6 million in 2007 and held a 9.2 per cent share of the market.

"As part of EFG-Hermes' strategy to expand its regional presence into Arab markets, we have entered into an agreement to acquire 51 per cent of Vision Securities Co, one of Oman's leading local brokers," Hassan Heikal, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EFG-Hermes, said in a statement.

It said that Vision Investment Services Co. SAOC, previously the majority stakeholder, would own the remaining 49 per cent.

Bank Audi, one of Lebanon's two largest banks, said last month it was in talks with EFG-Hermes over a possible merger. But Bank Audi said at the time that the talks were at a preliminary stage.

EFG-Hermes, which made a net profit of more than $230 million in 2007, operates in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Shares in EFG-Hermes were 1.8 per cent lower at $10.12. (Reuters)