VENTURES AFRICA – Egypt’s largest investment bank EFG Hermes have turned the corner on an offer by a group of investors to buy its shares at a premium E£13. 50 Egyptian pounds ($2.24), saying they should have filed the bid with the regulator and given shareholders better assurances.
Investment consortium Planet IB, backed by Egyptian Billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris, Tariq bin Faisal al-Qassimi, a financier in the Gulf emirate of Sharjah alongside Abdel Latif, former chairman of Cairo-based AlexBank, had announced on Friday plans to offer 13.50 Egyptian pounds per share to buy the Cairo-based investment bank.
According to reports, EFG shareholders voted for earlier plans to form a joint venture with Qatar’s QInvest that would give the Qatari firm control over EFG’s main business. However, Planet’s chairman, Mahmoud Abdel alleged that EFG’s board had pressured shareholders into voting against its offer at a time when many were out of the room watching the trial of Egypt’s ousted leader, Hosni Mubarak.
In a statement, EFG Chairwoman Mona Zulficar indicated Planet “did not provide any legal commitment or guarantee to EFG Hermes Holding nor to its shareholders to conclude such a tender offer.”
“Additionally, no proof to availability of funds has been presented to the company nor any information about the identity of the investors who will provide the necessary funds for the tender offer,” she added.
Planet’s Chairman, in a move to counter the development, revealed that the investors had appealed to the Egyptian bourse and would meet with Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri in a bid to suspend the QInvest deal temporarily to give Planet time to perform due diligence on EFG.
Meanwhile, EFG has announced a dividend of E£4 Egyptian pounds ($0.7) per share for shareholders after completing the proposed joint venture with QInvest.
The venture, which will be called EFG Hermes Qatar, would leave the Egyptian firm with 40 percent and the QInvest with a controlling 60 percent, with brokerage, research, asset management, investment banking and infrastructure fund businesses transferred to the new entity.