Monday,16 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1276, (31 December 2015 - 6 January 2016))
Monday,16 July, 2018
Issue 1276, (31 December 2015 - 6 January 2016))

Ahram Weekly

Sawiris strikes again

Al-Ahram Weekly

NAGUIB Sawiris, the Egyptian billionaire and IT tycoon, is expanding his activities in financial services. Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT), owned by Sawiris, is bidding to acquire CI Capital, the investment banking arm of Egypt’s largest private-sector bank Commercial International Bank (CIB).The CIB has given its initial approval to the offer, which values CI Capital at LE1 billion, and has given OTMT the go-ahead to start the due-diligence process.

Only last month OTMT together with Act Financial submitted an offer to buy 100 per cent of Beltone Financial, a leading local investment bank for LE650 million. Sawiris said earlier this month that he planned to continue investing in “very rewarding” Egypt. OTMT is a holding company with investments in media and technology, cable, and, more recently, energy, transport and logistics. It is looking to broaden its focus to the financial services sector.

If the current deal goes through, OTMT plans to merge the activities of the two investment banks to form Egypt’s largest investment bank in terms of assets and market share. In July 2014, Sawiris expressed an interest in buying 20 per cent of EFG Hermes, Egypt’s largest investment bank, in a joint bid with Beltone Financial but the deal failed after the holders of only 10 per cent of the stake approved the bid.

The CIB will most probably approve the new deal, according to market observers, as it wants to focus more on its core operations, especially since CI Capital doesn’t contribute much to its bottom line. The deal is the second important milestone for CIB during 2015 as it previously bought the retail activity of Citi Group in Egypt.

Sawiris reduced his holdings in Egypt soon after the 25 January Revolution and during Brotherhood rule, but over the last year he has several times expressed his interest in investing in the country.

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