Egypt's Beltone, Sawiris say no change to EFG Hermes offer

Consortium refuses to budge on offer for investment bank despite claim that it is below fair share price

Egypt's Beltone Financial and billionaire Naguib Sawiris said on Sunday they would not change their offer to buy 20 percent of EFG Hermes investment bank at 16 Egyptian pounds ($2.24) per share.

Beltone and Sawiris's New Egypt Investment Fund are offering around $257 million for the EFG stake in a bid that could help revive dealmaking in Egyptian equities after three years of stagnation following the overthrow ofHonsi Mubarak in 2011.

EFG Hermes, which appointed Cairo-based HC Securities and Investment this month to evaluate the fair value of its shares, said on Saturday an independent financial adviser had set its fair share price at 22.93 pounds, higher than the offer by Beltone and Sawiris's New Egypt Investment Fund.

"The consortium of New Egypt Investment Fund and Beltone Financial announce ... that they have no intention to change the offer price for the shares," they said in a joint statement on Sunday.

"We see the offered price per share as a fair price," the statement said.

EFG Hermes is one of the Middle East's biggest investment banks, with operations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman and Qatar.

The government of Dubai owned 11 percent of EFG Hermes as of the end of March, making it the biggest shareholder, according to Thomson Reuters data. EFG has a free float of about 67 percent.

The offer submitted to Egypt's financial regulator said that New Egypt Investment Fund would buy 17.82 percent of EFG Hermes, while Beltone planned to acquire 1.09 percent and Beltone Capital Holding would acquire another 1.09 percent.

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