KARACHI - Showing its interest to acquire the major shareholding of RBS-Pakistan, EFG-Hermes, Egypts premier investment banking firm and brokerage services provider, has requested State Bank of Pakistan to grant permission for conducting the due diligence of RBS Pakistan, the central banks official confirmed on Thursday. According to Chief Spokesman of State Bank Syed Wasimuddin, Faysal Bank, a local medium-sized bank and EFG-Hermes have approached SBP to start the due diligence of RBS. The requisite applications of both banks are under process and the central bank is expected to give go-ahead to the interested acquirers soon for commencing the due diligence process of RBS-Pakistan. It may be mentioned that Faysal Bank Limited on Jan 25, 2009 had notified KSE about its intention to buy the local operations of RBS-Pakistan. Industry sources familiar with the development said an EFG-Hermes team visited Pakistan recently to explore investment opportunities. They looked pretty interested in this acquisition and probably would be a serious contender to buy RBS Pakistan, said one industry source. Sources further claimed that the transaction deal of RBS would finalize by the end of the next month. It may be recalled that earlier, MCB had agreed to acquire the operations for a consideration of US$87million, however the deal did not materialize owing to SBP refusal in granting a necessary approval to the MCB Bank within the given time frame-work set by both parties in their shares purchase agreement signed on 12th August 2009. According to a brief Company Profile, EFG-Hermes, founded in 1984, is the premier investment bank in the Middle East and is recognized as the regions market leader in securities brokerage, asset management, investment banking, private equity, and research. It serves a full range of clients from govts and corporations to institutional and individual investors. The firm is listed on the Egyptian and London Stock exchanges and as at June 2008 had a market capitalization exceeding $3.5b. In 2006, net profit grew by 100pc to $ 123m and in 2007 grew a further 30 per cent to $160m. The firm employs over 880 people from more than 30 nationalities and services clients from 13 offices across the region. In addition, EFG-Hermes is the largest shareholder in Bank Audi, with a stake exceeding 28 per cent.