Egyptian brokerage firms are in the spotlight after Dubai's Shuaa Capital said on Thursday it is in talks with a number of target companies and eyeing acquisitions, in an environment where brokerage fees continue to dwindle.
Shuaa is looking at at least two Egyptian brokerages, sources told Reuters a day earlier.
The firm, which companies such as ports operator DP World to market, has looked at Egypt's HC Securities and Beltone Financial, said two of the sources speaking on condition of anonymity.
Shuaa said in a statement it plans to use its "strong balance sheet and solid cash position" to invest in growth, and that the current economic environment gives it an unique opportunity to play a "major consolidator role in the region".
"We want to try to close one or more deals by the end of the year, but there's no guarantee that will actually happen," a Shuaa spokesman said.
Shuaa, one of the Gulf Arab region's largest investment banks, was hit hard by the global financial downturn as impairments related to troubled assets erased profits.
It has been shedding risky assets from its investment portfolio after Dubai's property crash and asset bubble.
Its core brokerage and investment banking business has suffered amid a slump in initial public offerings (IPOs) and foreign acquisitions would help alleviate plunging broker revenue at home.
Turnover on Dubai's bourse is poised to slump to a seven-year low in 2011, with this year's annual traded value likely to be less than a fifth of that of 2008.
Egypt's benchmark index has fallen 37 per cent in 2011 as foreign and local investors dumped shares following the end of former president Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.