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RABAT, Feb 9 (Reuters) - SNI, the investment vehicle of Morocco’s royal family, has hired Goldman Sachs and Rothschild to advise it on the sale of a minority stake in Attijariwafa Bank, one of the SNI’s top managers was quoted saying on Monday.
SNI could sell at least 19 percent of one of Morocco and Africa’s biggest banks for an estimated 900 million euros ($1 billion), Paris-based Pan-African magazine Jeune Afrique reported, quoting Abdelmajid Tazlaoui, managing director of Onapar, the real estate arm of SNI.
The royal holding company controls 48 pct of Attijariwafa and plans to reduce its stake to less than 30 pct, the report said, as it plans to focus its future growth strategy on other sectors such as tourism, telecoms and renewable energies.
“In January, the two banks Goldman Sachs and Rothschild were mandated to finalise the deal,” the report said.
Through SNI, the Moroccan royal family which has ruled for close to four centuries is the biggest private stakeholder in the local economy.
Last year, SNI sold a 37.7 percent stake in dairy firm Centrale Laitiere to French partner Danone, which paid 550 million euros. It also completed the sale of its remaining 50 percent holding in Morocco’s top biscuit maker, Bimo, to Kraft Foods, which paid 1.31 billion Moroccan dirhams.
Tazlaoui said the disposals would help fund the repurchase of SNI’s debt. “SNI’s debt was 28 billion dirhams in 2010, and yet 17 billion dirhams in October 2014, now it fell to 10 billion dirhams” Tadlaoui added.
The report did not give details if talks have started with buyers. SNI did not return calls for comment. ($1 = 0.8861 euros) (Editing by David Holmes)