CAIRO: Investment bank EFG-Hermes said on Tuesday its net income for the first half of 2006 soared 289 percent to LE 358 million, but the results were at the low end of analyst expectations.
Three analysts had forecast net income for the period at between LE 358 and LE 408 million.
Some traders had expressed pessimism over the results on Tuesday even before they came out and the shares ended 2.5 percent lower at LE 40.70.
Although the half-year results were dramatically higher than the LE 92 million of net income earned in the first half of 2005, EFG said the growth in its net income had slowed compared to the first quarter of 2006.
This decline is mainly due to the slowdown that took place in the Egyptian market, resulting in much lower average daily traded values thus decreasing revenues generated from brokerage, EFG said in a statement on its Web site (www.efg-hermes.com).
But the firm said it expected that its call center, introduced in the third quarter of 2005, and new online trading services should help it increase market share by focusing on retail investors.
We expect the online trading license to be finalized during the coming few weeks after which our clients will have direct access to execute trades on the exchange for their own accounts, EFG s statement said.
EFG-Hermes said operating revenues had risen 103 percent to LE 487 million in the half-year from LE 240 million a year ago. Net operating margin rose to 70 percent from 65 percent.
EFG-Hermes, popular among retail investors, is often one of the most heavily traded stocks on the Egyptian exchange. It owns a 23 percent stake in Lebanon s Banque Audi. Reuters