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Business - Banks

Amwal Al Ghad English - 2016-02-14 18:38:08
Capital Intelligence (CI), the international credit rating agency, has affirmed Banque Du Caire’s Financial Strength Rating (FSR) at ‘BB-’, it said in a Thursday release. CI cited the rating on the basis of Banque Du Caire comfortable liquidity, though subject to systemic risk, and strong profitability. Ownership by state-owned Banque Misr, the second largest bank in the sector, also supports the FSR to a moderate degree. The factors constraining the FSR are ongoing sovereign and political risk factors, relatively low capital adequacy ratio (CAR), and the sharp increase in non-performing loans (NPLs), together with a fall in loan loss reserve (LLR) cover. Also constraining the FSR are the concentration risks in assets and to a lesser extent in customer deposits, ongoing elevated credit risk and the challenging operating environment. The Outlook for the FSR remains ‘Stable’. The Bank’s ‘B-’ Long-Term Foreign Currency (FC) Rating and ‘B’ Short-Term FC Rating are affirmed, with a ‘Stable’ Outlook, in line with CI’s Sovereign Ratings for Egypt (‘B-’/‘B’/‘Stable’). These ratings denote significant credit risk – as the Bank’s capacity for timely fulfilment of financial obligations is very vulnerable to adverse changes in internal or external circumstances. BdC’s Support Level is maintained at ‘3’, reflecting the agency’s view that the Bank will continue to be indirectly supported by the government (through state-owned Banque Misr). The likelihood of official support from the Central Bank of Egypt is also assessed high. The ongoing elevated economic and political risks continue to weigh negatively on Egypt’s operating environment and all Egyptian banks as a group. Any significant increase in Egypt’s external financing needs could impact the foreign reserves buffer and may lead to renewed balance of payments pressures given the lack of access to international markets. Notwithstanding the demonstrated financial support for Egypt from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, as well as the current moderate economic growth, the operating environment is expected to remain difficult and credit risks high. BdC has made progress rebuilding its market share of total assets and customer deposits in Egypt’s steadily expanding banking system. Much of the surplus liquidity generated by the Bank in recent years has been channelled into local currency government paper, and to a lesser extent in net loans and advances, a strategy also seen at other Egyptian banks. In turn, this reallocation of assets has noticeably increased the Bank’s exposure to Egyptian government securities and culminated in issuer concentration risk. At the same time, BdC’s credit portfolio has grown rather swiftly over the same period, though this has been from a relatively low base, with most of the expansion driven by high-margin retail lending to employees of public sector entities. Consequently, the contribution of retail loans to total credit continued to increase, and this has helped reduce the high level of borrower concentration risk. However, NPLs have also grown considerably in both proportionate and money terms in the corporate segment during recent periods. While a rise in classified loans over time is a normal result of new loans added, the sharp acceleration in the Bank’s NPL growth rate suggests that credit stress has intensified amid the difficult economic conditions. The Bank’s LLR coverage for NPLs fell significantly from a previously strong level, although it has to be said that the amount of required provisions to restore full cover is rather small in relation to BdC’s operating profit. Profitability metrics have continued to strengthen on the back of robust net interest income generation and effective cost control. Indeed, the ROAA (return on average assets) and operating profit to average assets ratios reached strong levels in 2014 and into the first nine months of 2015. The Bank’s good operating profitability provides the flexibility to step up provisioning requirements if necessary. Fee and commission income continued to enjoy healthy growth, in line with expanding business volumes. However, the contribution of non-interest income to gross income remained modest and below that of other Egyptian banks. BdC’s CAR (Basel II) remains slightly below the statutory minimum requirement and the ratio of total capital to total assets is also still low and less than the sector average. CI considers that CAR is currently insufficient in view of industry-wide trends in capital management. Since a capital injection from Banque Misr appears remote in the current environment (and given the parent’s own capital constraints), other sources of capital, such as a subordinated debt issue, might have to be used. However, it is more than likely that over the near to medium-term BdC will have to rely on internal capital generation, through full earnings retention, to restore CAR to a satisfactory level. In common with other Egyptian banks, BdC’s principal source of funding is customer deposits and in particular retail funds. Driven by sustained growth in customer deposits, the Bank’s lliquidity remains comfortable (though subject to systemic risk), reflecting the large holdings of government paper, as well as the comparatively low share of loans in total assets. That said, the local market is characterised by a shortage of foreign currency funds due to the significant depletion of the country’s international reserves. Although payments of letters of credit are permitted once the commercial transaction has been verified, there are restrictions on the transfer and withdrawal of foreign currency deposits by individuals and corporates, despite some easing in recent periods. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2016-02-13 10:22:36
Speculators should not be allowed to dominate market sentiment regarding China's foreign exchange reserves and it was quite normal for reserves to fall as well as rise, central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan was quoted as saying Saturday. China's foreign reserves fell for a third straight month in January, as the central bank dumped dollars to defend the yuan and prevent an increase in capital outflows. In an interview carried in the Chinese financial magazine Caixin, Zhou said yuan exchange reform would help the market be more flexible in dealing with speculative forces. There was a need to distinguish capital outflows from capital flight, and tight capital controls would not be effective for China, he said. China has not fully liberalized its capital account. Zhou added that there was no basis for the yuan to keep depreciating, and China would keep the yuan basically stable versus a basket of currencies while allowing greater volatility against the U.S. dollar. The government also needed to prevent systemic risks in the economy, and prevent "cross infection" between the stock, debt and currency markets, he said. The comments come after China reported economic growth of 6.9 percent for 2015, its weakest in 25 years, while depreciation pressure on the yuan adds to the case for the central bank to take more economic stimulus measures over the near-term. A slew of economic indicators has sent mixed signals to markets at the start of 2016 over the health of China's economy. Activity in the services sector expanded at its fastest pace in six months in January, a private survey showed on Feb. 3, while manufacturing activity fell to the lowest since August 2012. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2016-02-11 13:24:25
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Bank Audi – Egypt have signed a $30 million to support small and medium enterprises (SME’s) in Egypt. Although SMEs represent the majority of active private enterprises in Egypt and contribute 75 percent of total employment, access to finance remains a key concern and resolving this issue has become a top priority for the authorities. The EBRD credit line loan will help increase the availability of finance to small enterprises and will assist Bank Audi sae - Egypt to expand its SME lending activities in Egypt. Philip ter Woort, the EBRD Director for Egypt, said: “the EBRD considers SME’s as the backbone of the economy and we focus on strengthening them across all our countries of operations. We are pleased to partner with Bank Audi sae - Egypt to provide more finance to smaller enterprises and to help increasing job opportunities.” Hatem Sadek, Chairman and Managing Director - Bank Audi Egypt, said: “since the start of our operations in Egypt, Bank Audi sae was fully aware of the SME significance to the Egyptian Economy and Society leading us to establish a new strategic model serving this sector. Partnering with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will further enhance our strategy to grow especially in the SME segments.” Mr. Mohamed Fayed, Deputy Chairman & Managing Director - Bank Audi sae - Egypt, said: “SME’s growth is one of Bank Audi’s strategic objectives in which we are building a full business model enabling us to properly approach and finance this segment that would affect and reflect positively on the Egyptian economy and accordingly support the GDP growth, improve the employment ratio and build new business.” Mohamed Latif, General Manager of the Financial Institutions – Bank Audi Egypt, highlighted that this agreement is just the beginning of a long-term partnership in many aspects between the two institutions and that there are various aspects for further cooperation with EBRD. To date, the EBRD has invested more than €1.7 billion in Egypt in 33 projects (including regional ones) since it started working in the country at the end of 2012. The Bank’s investments include the natural resources sector, the financial sector, agribusiness, manufacturing and services as well as infrastructure projects such as power, municipal water and wastewater and contributions to the upgrade of transport services. More»
Mohamed Hamdy - 2016-02-11 10:54:42
Egypt's largest private sector bank, Commercial International Bank (CIB) reported Thursday a record full-year net profit of 4.640 billion Egyptian pounds (US$592.5 million), from 3.647 billion pound in 2014. CIB’s net profit for the fourth quarter of 2015 has reached 1.15 billion pounds compared to 1.03 billion pounds in the same period a year earlier, the bank said in a Thursday statement. Q4 revenues hit 2.89 billion pounds, up 33 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, full-year revenues registered 10.2 billion pounds, up 32 percent year-on-year. More»
Amwal Al Ghad English - 2016-02-11 10:21:05
Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom and Technology, which is owned by business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, has approved the final offer for the acquisition of CI Capital, a subsidiary of Commercial International Bank, the company announced Thursday. OTMT, which has holdings in media, technology and cable businesses as well as energy, transport and logistics, is expanding into financial services. It plans to merge CI Capital with Beltone Financial, which it bought last month for almost 650 million Egyptian pounds ($83 million). CI Capital is working on four initial public offerings this year in the construction, consumption and tourism sectors. It also plans to open a brokerage firm in the United Arab Emirates in the second quarter of this year. A counter-offer for CI Capital was made earlier this month by a subsidiary of the National Bank of Egypt, but the bid was dropped after the two sides failed to agree on a timeframe to complete feasibility studies. More»