The Egyptian government has accepted an offer from Italian cement group Italcementi to acquire a majority shares of Suez Cement, Egypt’s largest cement group. Through its French unit, Ciments Francais, Italcementi will increase its stake in Suez from 34.1 to 54 per cent for $153m, becoming entitled to appoint seven of the Egyptian group’s 13 board members. Suez Cement had a domestic market share of 22 per cent in 2003, with operating profit of $46m on sales of $186m.
The government had vetoed an initial offer from Italcementi last December, on concerns over job security at the company and uncertainty over privatisation plans. Italcementi refused a compromise offer to increase its stake to 39.9 per cent, increasing the value of its offer instead.