Private Equity Leader: Egyptian banks must lend to serious private-sector borrowers

Egypt's banks are rock-solid ' the key now is for them to step-up lending to qualified borrowers of all sizes, says the co-founder of the leading MENA private equity firm at the Central Bank of Egypt conference titled 'The Banks and You'

Egypt’s banks are rock-solid and the nation’s regulatory framework remains a strong example for other Arab nations to follow, a top regional private equity leader told delegates at “The Banks and You,” a conference organized on Monday, 23 March 2009, by the Central Bank of Egypt.

“Against that background, it is time banks put their funds to work by stepping up their lending to qualified borrowers. We have had a 100 basis-point interest-rate cut to encourage activity, and now banks have to do their part,” said Hisham El-Khazindar, managing director and co-founder of Citadel Capital, the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and North Africa. Citadel Capital’s 14 opportunity-specific funds control platform investments worth more than US$ 8.3 billion in industries ranging from transportation and agrifoods to energy and cement.

“Demand is particularly acute in the mid-sized enterprise segment, those companies with 100-500 workers that economists say must become the engines of economic growth,” said El-Khazindar. “That said, Citadel Capital invests in companies of all sizes in more than a dozen industries, a fact that gives us a bird’s eye view of the private sector.

“From that experience, I can tell you this: There is not a sector out there that would not grow faster with additional support form the nation’s banks. Despite strong government backing, our banks have very low ratios of loans to deposits. We look forward to seeing them enhance their roles as leaders of our nation’s economic growth,” El-Khazindar concluded.

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Citadel Capital is the leading private equity firm focusing on building regional platform investments throughout the Middle East and Africa in selected industries through acquisitions, turnarounds, and greenfields executed via Opportunity Specific Funds. Citadel Capital’s 19 OSFs now control Platform Companies with investments worth more than US$ 8.3 billion in 14 industries, including mining, cement, transportation, food and energy. Since 2004, the firm has returned more than US$ 2.2 billion in cash to investors, more than any other private equity firm in the region.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Ghada Hammouda
Head of Corporate Communications,
Citadel Capital (S.A.E.)

Tel: +20 2 2791-4440 • Fax: +20 22 791-4448
Mobile: +20 16 662-0002