VENTURES AFRICA – Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is helping finance the acquisition of Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes in a bid that would ensure that would ensure Egypt’s largest investment bank’s structure.
The bid consortium confirmed the development on Friday after EFG, in statement to the Egyptian bourse yesterday, disclosed plans of an imminent takeover bid without going into details.
The imminent takeover comes as EFG, whose market value has been more than halved to less than $870 million since the Egyptian uprising which saw off infamous President Hosni Mabarak last year, is in the process of forming a joint venture with Qatar’s QInvest that would give the Qatari firm control over its main business.
According to Reuters report, Plant IB, the group of Gulf investors and bankers behind the move, is led by experienced financial industry interests including Chief Executive Ahmad al-Husseiny, who until last month was managing director of Egypt-based private equity firm Citadel Capital.
Husseiny said Planet had lined up debt finance for its cash bid and “substantial equity commitments from leading Egyptian business figures” including Sawiris, Gulf-based investors such as Tariq bin Faisal al-Qassimi and a top Bahraini institution.
In a statement, Hussieny revealed that the proposed acquisition keeps a flagship Egyptian multi-national intact and prevents its break-up. According to him, EFG would operate as a fully-controlled universal bank.
Under Egyptian stock exchange rules, Planet IB would have to bid for all of EFG’s share capital.
According to Planet IB’s chairman, Mahmoud Abdel Latif, the buy-out plan would see EFG expand into Africa and cut its costs. The banking industry veteran also hinted on plans to keeping staffing “intact”.
Billionaire Naguib Sawiris, one of Egypt’s richest men and part-financier of the bid, built a global telecoms empire by venturing into frontier markets with strong growth potential.
Sawiris has eased off day-to-day management of his empire after selling assets including Italian operator Wind and his most lucrative business, Algeria’s Djezzy, to Russia’s Vimpelcom in a deal worth $6 billion. He is also due to reap billions from his sale of stakes in Egyptian mobile telecoms company Mobinil, to France Telecom.
The Northern African entrepreneur is now eyeing new growth opportunities in telecoms.