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Citadel Begins Microfinance Services In Egypt

In partnership with the Egyptian Gulf Bank

Citadel Capital’s platform company, Finance Unlimited, along with microfinance management team and the Egyptian Gulf Bank, has launched Tanmeyah Micro Enterprise Services across Cairo and Egypt’s Delta.

Reportedly, Tanmeyah expects to open 23 additional branches and grow its portfolio of outstanding loans to EGP70 million across 19,000 clients by the end of 2009.

The company said that the micro-lending group is 51% owned by Citadel Capital platform company Finance Unlimited. Management holds a 24.3% stake, while the Egyptian Gulf Bank owns the remaining 24.7% share.

Tanmeyah is operated by Amr Abouesh, executive chairman, who lead Banque du Caire’s micro financing initiative and Hazim Medani, Tanmeyah’s managing director and CEO, was formerly chief operating officer at Bank of Alexandria and director of the bank’s restructuring programs. Amr Abouelazm, deputy chairman and deputy CEO, was previously the deputy director of German Development Bank (KfW) in Egypt.

Mr. Abouesh said: “Certainly productivity and operations in a project of this scale benefit from a learning curve. We’re in operational mode, we’re issuing the money and we expect that the numbers will only better as the organization and productivity develops.”

Mr. Medani said: “Tanmeyah is an effort to scale and develop a unique core business model. We look to employ members of the communities where we’re present and train these individuals to locate and fund successful micro and small businesses that need capital to grow. This model is different from other microfinance schemes — just like traditional commercial and corporate banks, we’re looking for things like cash flow, a proven business model, management competence and market potential.”

Ahmed El Houssieny, managing director at Citadel Capital, said: “This large, critical segment is a new sector for Citadel Capital but it fits into our strategy of building a local platform and expanding to new markets on regional and sector advantages. Capturing the significant potential in this overlooked market requires funding, expertise and experience, value that Citadel Capital and its partners deliver through Tanmeyah.”

Citadel Capital is a private equity firm based in Cairo. Finance Unlimited is Citadel Capital’s platform company holding a number of discrete investments in the MENA regional financial services industry.