File - Egyptian Sawiris Naguib smiles as he attends a press conference in Rome, Monday, Sept. 12, 2005. (AP Photo/Sandro Pace)
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Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is backing a $257 million bid for 20 percent of investment bank EFG Hermes, sources said, in what could be a sign of revived investor appetite in Egypt after more than three years of economic stagnation.In a statement Thursday, investment bank Beltone Financial said it and a group of investors were seeking 20 percent of EFG Hermes for 1.84 billion Egyptian pounds ($257.3 million), or 16 pounds per share, confirming what two sources familiar with the matter earlier told Reuters.Beltone said it would take 1 percent of EFG Hermes, but did not say who the other investors were. The sources said they included Sawiris.Shares in EFG Hermes had jumped 6.8 percent Wednesday before they were suspended at 13.52 pounds pending a statement by the market regulator, the Egyptian Exchange said.The bourse said Thursday it would cancel all of Wednesday's transactions in EFG Hermes shares, which were up 7 percent by 9 GMT.
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