Beltone, Others Seek Stake in Egypt’s EFG Hermes -Sources

Beltone Financial and a group of investors including Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris are seeking to acquire a 20 % stake in Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The group would offer 16 Egyptian pounds (USD 2.24) per share for the stake, with Beltone itself taking 1 % of EFG Hermes, the sources said, without providing further details. The sources declined to be named as the matter is not yet public.

“No one spoke with us at Hermes to make an offer to buy… But we welcome any investor who has solvency such as Sawiris and wants to invest in Hermes with around  USD250 million,” a source from EFG Hermes told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Comment could not immediately be obtained from Beltone or Sawiris.

Shares in EFG Hermes jumped 6.8 % on Wednesday before they were suspended at 13.52 pounds. The suspension was pending a statement by the market regulator, the Egyptian Exchange said in a brief announcement without elaborating.

EFG Hermes is one of the biggest investment banks in the Middle East, and a deal to buy a major stake in it would be seen as a sign of revival in Egypt’s equity market after years of depressed activity since the 2011 revolution.

In 2012, EFG Hermes agreed on a deal with Qatar’s QInvest to spin off part of its assets to create an investment bank with operations spanning the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. QInvest would have pumped in USD250 million for a 60 % stake.

But the deal fell through last year after failing to win regulatory approval in Egypt. EFG Hermes said it would instead cut costs and sell off non-core assets.

Source: Reuters