Egypt's Orascom Telecom acquisition of CIB's investment arm in limbo: Sawiris

Ahram Online , Sunday 27 Mar 2016

Egypt's business tycoon Naguib Sawiris (Photo: Al Ahram)

Egyptian business tycoon and Orascom Telecom CEO Naguib Sawiris expressed fears in a newspaper column on Sunday that government approval necessary to complete his acquisition of CI-Capital is under "national security review."

In December, the board of directors in Egypt's leading listed bank, CIB, approved “moving forward” with an offer by Sawiris to acquire its investment bank subsidiary CI Capital through a non-binding offer submitted by Orascom Telecom for Media and Technology (OTMT) for EGP 1 billion.

"A decision will be made towards the possible deal for OTMT to acquire CI Capital when all requirements are met," Sherif Samy, chairman of the Egyptian financial regulatory authority EFSA, told Ahram Online on Sunday. 

Samy gave no details on the necessary requirements or timeframe expected for a decision, refusing to comment on Sawiris column.

Sawiris claimed in the column published in state-owned newspaper Al-Akhbar that several banks have pulled out from financing the acquisition after expressing their earlier approval based on instructions from the central bank.

But Egypt's central bank governor, Tarek Amer, denied instructing state-owned Banque Misr to withdraw from financing the deal, in a televised interview on Saturday.

"We introduced regulations, we said we will not block the acquisistion, but specified the percentage of financing an investor needs to provide from their own money," Amer said in the interview.

Egypt's leading state-owned bank had made a counterbid to acquire CI Capital in February but later withdrew for not having the time to conduct due diligence.

Speaking on amending regulations for financing acquisitions, Amer said that it would be risky for banks to finance acquisitions by investors with no track record in the sector they are buying in, adding that industry outsiders do not add value to the sector.

"We will not block acquisitions, but require investors to bring in their own money," added Amer.

OTMT said it would lend EGP 1 billion to its investment banking subsidiary Beltone Financial, which is acting as the purchasing entity for the acquisition of CI Capital.

"This comes in line with OTMT’s strategy to combine CI Capital and Beltone to create a regional financial conglomerate," said the company in a press release in February.

Beltone Financial was acquired by OTMT for almost EGP 650 million in late 2015.

OTMT has investment activities in GSM, media and technology, and cable businesses, and recently expanded its operations into the new fields of energy, transport & logistics, and telecom infrastructure.
Orascom Telecom share price dipped 2.53 percent to EGP 0.76 and Commercial International Bank declined 2.38 to EGP 38.6 in the Egyptian bourse on Sunday.
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