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Billionaire Sawiris to finalize CI Capital buyout by end-March

[CAIRO] Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris will finalize the acquisition of CI Capital Holding this month to create Egypt's second-biggest investment bank.

The US$118 million is in "execution mode" after the share-purchase agreement was signed, Mr Sawiris said in an interview in Cairo on Sunday. He sees no regulatory objections to the deal.

The acquisition comes about four months after Orascom Telecom Media & Technology, majority owned by Sawiris, paid more than US$76.6 million for Beltone Financial Holding SAE, another investment bank. The billionaire is betting on an eventual recovery in the battered economy of the most populous Arab country, even as a foreign currency shortage hampers growth.

"There's a major crisis in the economy," Mr Sawiris said. "If you believe that when things get really bad, that's when they start to get better, it's the right time to" invest, he said. "The end game is definitely to create the largest player in Egypt." The CI Capital acquisition is "purely a market opportunity because the investment, brokerage and asset management scene in Egypt was divided into one big player and lots of small and medium-sized fraction players," he added, referring to investment bank EFG Hermes. The nation's benchmark stock index has tumbled more than 35 per cent over the past 12 months, the world's worst performer after Ukraine's gauge.


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