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Approval granted for Sawiris, Beltone to buy stake in EFG-Hermes

An offer by New Egypt Investment fund, owned by Naguib Sawiris, and Beltone financial to buy a 20 percent share in the country's biggest investment bank receives approval from regulator

Ahram Online, Waad Ahmed, Wednesday 18 Jun 2014
Naguib Sawiris
Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 2106

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) approved on Wednesday an offer made by Dutch-based New Egypt Investment fund, owned by Naguib Sawiris, and Beltone financial to buy a 20 percent share in the country's biggest investment bank Egyptian Financial Group Hermes (EFG-Hermes), Sherif Samy, the authority head, told Ahram Online.

Beltone Financial Holding is a cairo-based investment firm opened in 2002 with focus on Middle East and North Africa region. share price on the Egyptian exchange has soared by over 30 percent since the announcement of the tender, rising 3.51 percent on Wednesday to close at LE34.18.

Naguib Sawiris is the owner and chairman of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology and is one of Egypt's wealthiest businessmen with a net worth of $2.8 billion.

Trading in EFG-Hermes shares was temporarily suspended ahead of the news upon the request of the EFSA, said Hesham Turk, the exchange spokesperson.

Trading on EFG-Hermes has already resumed and the share price rose 3.13 percent to stand at LE15.4 per share.

Benchmark index, EGX 30, is in the green as it has so far risen 0.58 percent to 8445 points while daily listed stock turnover is almost LE500 million.

So far, out of 154 trading stocks only 84 are in the green.

EFG-Hermes seeks to assess the bid of LE16 a share which would value the deal at LE1.8 billion, announcing that it is appointing HC securities as an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) “to opine on the fair value of the stock and the fairness of the offer, upon its approval by EFSA, in order to help shareholders evaluate its attractiveness.”

According to Reuters, the government of Dubai was the largest shareholder in EFG-Hermes as of the end of last March, with an 11 percent stake in the company, of which 67 percent is in the form of free-floating shares.

EFG Hermes is one of the biggest investment banks in the Middle East, and a deal to buy a major stake in it would be seen as a sign of revival in Egypt's equity market after years of depressed activity since the 2011 revolution.

In 2012, EFG Hermes agreed on a deal with Qatar's QInvest to spin off part of its assets to create an investment bank with operations spanning the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. QInvest would have pumped in $250 million for a 60 percent stake.

But the deal fell through last year after failing to win regulatory approval in Egypt. EFG Hermes said it would instead cut costs and sell off non-core assets.

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