A purchase of BLOM Bank's Egypt interests could prove a good move for Emirates NBD, if it comes about. It would further extend its geographical reach. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Emirates NBD is in preliminary discussions with Lebanon’s BLOM Bank to pick up the latter’s stake at its Egypt operations.

“Discussions are still ongoing and there is no certainty that any transaction will be completed,” Emirates NBD said in a statement on Dubai Financial Market.

“Emirates NBD routinely evaluates potential opportunities in different markets… and a further announcement will only be made if there is a material development.”

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Rush to nail deals

According to Bloomberg, Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest bank, already has a sizable presence in Egypt after buying the local business of France's BNP Paribas SA in 2012 in a $500 million deal.

Lebanese banks are struggling to shore up their finances as the nation grapples with its worst economic crisis in decades. The country was already battling soaring inflation, a rapid devaluation of the Lebanese pound and a shrinking economy before the blast ripped through the capital's port on August 4.

Beirut-based Bank Audi in May said it and First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC mutually agreed to end talks on the sale of the Lebanese lender's Egyptian subsidiary because of uncertainty created by the pandemic.