BEIRUT

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Sawiris, Beltone mull downsized holding in EFG-Hermes

File - Naguib Sawiris speaks during a conference in Beirut in this June 2, 2010. (REUTERS/Cynthia Karam)

CAIRO: Billionaire Naguib Sawiris and Beltone Financial Holding are studying the purchase of a 9.5 percent stake in EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, after attempts to buy more than twice that holding failed.

Owners of about 54.4 million EFG-Hermes shares agreed to sell by market close Sunday in Cairo, well below the 114.7 million Sawiris and Beltone sought, according to the Egyptian Exchange. EFG-Hermes rose 1.1 percent to 15.42 Egyptian pounds, taking its increase since the deal was announced on June 5 to 17 percent.

The joint bid, for which a 10-business day implementation period expired Sunday, was for 16 pounds a share.

Sawiris and Beltone must seek additional regulatory approval if they decide to buyout the EFG-Hermes holders who accepted their offer, Osama Rashad, head of Beltone investor relations, said Sunday.

Sawiris, who has sold most of his telecommunication assets in Egypt since the start of political unrest in 2011, is trying to make good on a promise to reinvest in Egypt after the military seized power from Islamists a year ago. He didn’t respond to requests for comment Sunday.

“For Sawiris and Beltone, a 9.5 percent stake may be viewed as an accomplishment,” said Hany Genena, head of research at Cairo-based Pharos Holding. “They have an opportunity to buy ... at a relatively attractive price and they can always try to buy more at a later stage.”

EFG-Hermes said last month that HC Securities & Investment, an independent adviser it hired to price its stock, arrived at a valuation of 22.93 pounds. Shareholders had rejected a takeover offer from a group of investors led by Sawiris in 2012 in favor of another from Qatar’s QInvest LLC, a deal that ultimately failed to receive approval from Egypt’s financial regulator.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 07, 2014, on page 5.

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Summary

Billionaire Naguib Sawiris and Beltone Financial Holding are studying the purchase of a 9.5 percent stake in EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, after attempts to buy more than twice that holding failed.

Owners of about 54.4 million EFG-Hermes shares agreed to sell by market close Sunday in Cairo, well below the 114.7 million Sawiris and Beltone sought, according to the Egyptian Exchange. EFG-Hermes rose 1.1 percent to 15.42 Egyptian pounds, taking its increase since the deal was announced on June 5 to 17 percent.


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