A drop in income from investment banking fees dragged down quarterly profits at EFG-Hermes, which struggled to seal deals due to Egypt's restive political climate.
EFG-Hermes, one of the biggest investment banks in the Middle East, generated 34.9 million Egyptian pounds (Dh21.2m) in net profits for the first quarter, which was a 6.4 per cent decline compared with the same period last year.
"The investment banking department had a relatively quiet quarter closing only one transaction during the first quarter of 2012," the bank said.
"Our pitching efforts have also intensified quite significantly during the past period with our concentration shifting to countries outside Egypt.
"Markets like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Levant have been special areas of focus for us although competition is tough."
The bank reported fee and commission income of 259m pounds, representing a 7.5 per cent fall compared with the same period a year earlier.
Investment banking fees fell 40 per cent to 12m pounds, compared with the same period a year earlier.
However, the bank said its work advising the demerger of Orascom Telecom was the first of its kind in the region and represented a new business line for the bank.
Brokerage revenue fell to 62m pounds during the quarter despite stellar performance on the region's bourses, with revenues 9 per cent lower than the same quarter a year earlier.
Egyptian brokerage revenues fell 5 per cent during the quarter, when the EGX30 was among the world's best-performing, and despite a bull market on the Saudi Tadawul during the same-period revenues from the bank's brokerage in the kingdom fell by half.
On the Dubai Financial Market, the increase in brokerage executions "lagged the improvement in market volumes", the bank added.
"Market activity was triggered by speculative trades on selected stock and high net-worth families and individual retail clients dominating the market, while foreign and local institutional clients' participation remained low."
From: The National