Go back a few months and the disposal of Egyptian assets seemed like a good option for European banks desperate to raise funds by selling non-core operations.
Flash forward and Egypt's deteriorating political situation, together with the resultant sharp drop in its currency, threaten to hamper further selloffs, with international banks unwilling to accept the fire-sale prices that are increasingly on offer.
For investment bankers on the hunt for fees, it threatens to be a lengthy wait for dealmaking to revive. And last year's flurry of activity may start to look like no more than a blip.
“People who sold last year appear a lot smarter now than those who waited,” said one financial institutions group banker, asking not to be quoted because of the sensitivity of his position advising clients.
“Clearly, the current situation in Egypt does not look like it would lure even the most bullish of investors,” the banker said. “Clients are not asking about buying opportunities now but want to know how (much) worse the situation may get.”
European banks, under pressure to cut costs and bolster their capital levels in the post-credit crunch regulatory clampdown, have been looking to sell Egyptian operations to regional banks more familiar with the country's politics and bullish on its long-term prospects.
French banks Societe Generale and larger rival BNP Paribas agreed to sell their banking arms in Egypt to Qatar National Bank and Dubai's Emirates NBD respectively in 2012.
Some had expected other deals to follow.