December 13, 2018 / 11:46 AM / 6 months ago

Egypt's Pharos Holding says it will launch microfinance services

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s Pharos Holding investment bank will launch microfinance portfolio services worth around $22-$28 million in the first quarter of 2019, Co-CEO Aladdin el-Afifi told Reuters in an interview.

Aladdin El-Afifi, Managing Director and Co-CEO of Pharos Holding speaks during an interview with Reuters in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Ehab Farouk

The Cairo-based lender is one of Egypt’s largest financial institutions, providing investment banking, asset management, securities brokerage and book-keeping services.

“(Next year) will be a very decisive year for Pharos’ path,” Afifi said.

Pharos said last year it hoped to break into the non-banking financial services market in 2018, but pushed back its plan to await new technological tools.

Non-banking financial services include microfinance, finance leasing, insurance, real estate financing and factoring.

“We have been working on funding microfinance since the end of 2017. The company has already been established and we have a preliminary licence and will get the final licence (soon),” Afifi said.

“We have Pakistani investors and we will be using tools that rely more on technology,” he added, without elaborating.

Pharos also hopes to take a number of stakes in private firms for investment purposes in 2019.

“We are going to take stakes in companies that allow us to manage or participate in the management ... We expect to complete our first deal in renewable energy in the first half of next year. The companies we are considering are not listed on the stock exchange,” Afifi said.

Speaking from his office overlooking the Nile, Afifi said Pharos had financial capital of about 100 million Egyptian pounds ($5.6 million).

“As financial advisers, this year we closed more than 18 transactions, ranging from capital increases to acquisitions worth 6.1 billion Egyptian pounds ($340 million) compared to more than 15 transactions in 2017 worth 8.25 billion Egyptian pounds ($460 million),” said Afifi.

($1 = 17.8750 Egyptian pounds)

Reporting by Ehab Farouk; writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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