CAIRO: Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is helping finance a takeover bid for Egypt's biggest investment bank EFG Hermes that would ensure the company is not broken up, the bid consortium said yesterday.
Plant IB, the group of Gulf investors and bankers behind the bid move, is led by financial industry interests including chief executive Ahmad Al Husseiny, who until last month was managing director of Egypt-based private equity firm Citadel Capital.
The move comes as EFG, whose market value has more than halved to less than $870 million since the national uprising that deposed 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.
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.
"The proposed acquisition keeps a flagship Egyptian multi-national intact and prevents its break-up," said Hussieny in a statement. He said EFG would operate as a fully-controlled universal bank.
Sawiris, one of Egypt's richest men, built a global telecoms empire by venturing into frontier markets with strong growth potential.
Now 57, he 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 due to reap further billions from selling most of his stake in the Egyptian mobile telecoms company he founded, Mobinil, to France Telecom and is now eyeing new growth opportunities in telecoms.
EFG has securities brokerage, investment banking, asset management, research and private equity operations and a controlling interest in Lebanese lender Credit Libanais.