BNP Paribas has received bids from Dubai's Emirates NBD and Morocco's AttijariWafabank for the proposed sale of its retail banking business in Egypt, in an effort to strengthen its capital base and exit non-core operations.

A banking source familiar with the matter told Reuters, "The two parties are clearly the frontrunners for the stake."

"There is a lot of regional interest for Egyptian assets but some may be backing out, expecting other European assets to be put on the block."

The Moroccan bank is receiving counsel on the deal from Swiss bank UBS, while Attijariwafabank’s managing director Ismail Douiri refused to comment, the source added.

Proceeds from the sale may provide the French bank with $500m, which operates more than 60 branches across Egypt.

The bank was established in Egypt under the name BNP Paribas in 2005, and is currently serving with 1500 employees offering coverage to major districts and cities such as Greater Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, North Coast & Delta, Upper Egypt, Sinai and the Red Sea.