By Abdel Qader Ramadan and Mohamed Ayyad
With the Naguib Sawiris- Beltone alliance seeking to acquire 20% of EFG Hermes, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) is currently assessing the documents submitted by legal representative of the alliance Yasser Zaki Hashem last Thursday, according to the oversight body’s head Sherif Samy.
EFSA has not confirmed whether all required documents have been collected, Sami added.
Sami said that EFSA committees are looking to ensure that the submitted documents and papers meet all requested inquiries, pointing out that the commission received documents related to the ownership structure of New Egypt, the company owned by Naguib Sawiris. Sami refused to disclose any further details.
“The company will not allow for the implementation of a 20% purchase offer of its shares chaotically,” said Chairman of EFG Hermes Mona Zulfikar, affirming that Hermes will be contracting with an independent financial adviser to protect the rights of shareholders.
“Hermes has a great history,” Zulfikar added. “We are waiting for EFSA’s decision on the extent of the seriousness and solvency of the purchase offer financially and technically.”
“Continuous purchase offers for Hermes confirms its attractiveness and the company’s financial and administrative competency, but we are awaiting the reply of the oversight body to begin our role,” she said.
Sami said the oversight body will not announce the completion of all the necessary paperwork until “there is total confidence that all necessary paperwork has been completed in order to preserve the interests of all parties”. He added that regardless of the outcome, EFSA will not authorise anything with regards to the deal until the studies are completed.
Sami said that the decision does not require approval from EFSA’s board of directors. He did not confirm whether the deal requires approval from security agencies.
According to the law, EFSA is required to announce its position on the deal within 48 hours from announcing that all paperwork requirements have been fulfilled.
“It is in our interest and the interest of all parties to finish quickly and express an opinion on the deal, and we do not have a position against it,” said Sami.
The source said that despite the company’s board of directors welcoming businessman Naguib Sawiris, there is a problem with regards to Beltone, which they consider a Hermes competitor. This has made it difficult for Hermes to accept the company as a representative on its board of directors. This is especially the case after CEO of Beltone Alaa Saba expressed his desire to obtain the position of chairman of the board of EFG should the deal go through, despite Hermes being several times larger than Beltone, the source said.
FSA announced earlier that New Egypt submitted an optional purchase offer to acquire a 17.8% stake in Hermes, whereas Beltone Financial and Beltone Capital Holding seek a 1.09% stake each, whether in shares or global depository receipts (GDRs), valued at EGP 16 per share.