Billionaire Sawiris Bids to Buy CIB Investment Banking Unit

Egyptian Billionaire Naguib Sawiris’ Orascom Telecom Media And Technology Holding SAE offered to buy the investment-banking unit of Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE. Shares of both companies climbed.

Orascom Telecom made a non-binding offer to buy 100 percent of CI Capital for about 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($128 million), Egypt’s biggest publicly-traded lender said in a filing to the country’s bourse on Thursday. Orascom Telecom says Commercial International Bank’s board agreed to proceed with the discussions, and will be given access to CI Capital to conduct due diligence.

If successful, this would be Sawiris’ second acquisition in the financial sector in about a month after he acquired Beltone Financial Holding SAE in November. Sawiris said earlier this month that he plans to continue investing in “very rewarding” Egypt as his company seeks to expand operations beyond telecoms to include transportation, energy and financial services. He didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.

"If CIB agrees to sell, this might indicate they want to focus more on their core operations," Cairo-based Yehia Saleh, an analyst at Pharos Holding, said by telephone. "CI Capital doesn’t contribute much to CIB if you compare the profits of both."

CIB shares rose 4.3 percent at the close in Cairo and Orascom Telecom shares surged 9.3 percent . CIB was the biggest contributor to gains on Egypt’s EGX 30 Index, which rose 2.8 percent.

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