EFG Hermes vote sets up Qatar investment plan

Shareholders of EFG-Hermes vote in favour of creating bank with Qatar Islamic Bank unit
EFG Hermes vote sets up Qatar investment plan
By Bloomberg
Sat 02 Jun 2012 04:53 PM

Shareholders of EFG-Hermes Holding have voted in favour of creating an investment bank in which QInvest, a unit of Qatar Islamic Bank, will own 60 percent.

The vote was confirmed by Doha-based QInvest CEO Shahzad Shahbaz who said by phone on Saturday the agreement will still require regulatory approval.

EFG-Hermes shareholders approved the deal at a meeting, two people with knowledge of the vote had said earlier, asking not to be identified because the decision hasn’t been made public.

A representative at EFG-Hermes’ media department declined to immediately comment when contacted via e-mail.

QInvest will invest $250m in the joint venture, which will will exclude EFG-Hermes’ private equity business and its stake in Lebanese commercial bank Credit Libanais, the two companies said last month.

EFG-Hermes has a market value of about 5.24 billion Egyptian pounds ($868m).

The vote puts into question a possible bid to acquire 100 percent of EFG-Hermes by Planet IB Ltd, a company led by a group of Egyptian bankers. The bid, announced last week, is backed by domestic, regional and international investors including Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, Planet said.

“I will not shy away from Egypt’s first hostile takeover,” Planet’s CEO Ahmed El Houssieny said on Saturday in a statement to Bloomberg.

“I have done Egypt’s first corporate bond issuance, Egypt’s first leveraged buyout, Egypt’s first securitisation transaction.”

Planet said it raised $650m in debt and a “lower amount” in equity for the possible bid. El Houssieny, former managing director at Cairo-based private equity firm Citadel Capital, had said the offer hinged on EFG-Hermes’s management allowing his company to conduct due diligence.

The shareholder vote comes after EFG-Hermes’ co-chief executive officers were referred to trial in Egypt May 30, charged with illicit gains related to the 2007 sale of El Watany Bank of Egypt.

EFG-Hermes has denied the charges, which centered around the lack of disclosure of trading activities and involved seven others including Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, the sons of former president Hosni Mubarak.

EFG-Hermes shares have advanced 9.6 percent this year, compared with a 29 percent gain for the benchmark EGX 30 Index.

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