Egypt’s Nassef Sawiris Said Weighing IPO of Construction Business

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Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris is considering taking part of his construction business public in Cairo, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

Sawiris, chief executive officer of Netherlands-based OCI NV (OCI), sent requests for proposals to local and international banks for the potential sale, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. The transaction may be valued at about $300 million, three of the people said.

Sawiris set up OCI NV last year, absorbing the majority of shares in his Cairo-based Orascom Construction Industries into the new Dutch company. He was backed by investors including Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment. The company was then removed from Egypt’s EGX 30 Index of equities.

That benchmark has rallied more than 70 percent since the military ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July, helping revive demand for asset sales. Sawiris’ potential IPO comes as OCI NV, which has interests in fertilizers, chemicals and construction, seeks to sell its 50 percent stake in the BESIX engineering and construction group.

Sawiris has a net worth of $7.9 billion, making him Egypt’s richest man, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In April he hired Zaoui & Co., the boutique investment bank founded by Michael and Yoel Zaoui, former M&A bankers at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., to advise on the Besix sale.

OCI NV declined to comment and Sawiris couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Source: Bloomberg