Egypt’s Pharos Holding set to launch microfinance services in the first quarter of 2019

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Co-CEO of Pharos Holding Investment bank, Aladdin el-Afifi told Reuters that the firm will launch microfinance portfolio services worth around $22-$28 million in the first quarter of 2019.

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

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

In 2017, the investment bank revealed that 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.

The bank CEO said “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)”.

For investment purposes, Pharos also hopes to take a number of stakes in private firms next year.

According to Afifi, “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 who spoke to Reuters from his office overlooking the Nile, revealed that Pharos had a financial capital of about 100 million Egyptian pounds ($5.6 million).

He said “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)”.

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