Italcementi SpA’s Ciments Francais unit has launched a US$550m bid to buy the Egyptian government’s 65.9 per cent share in Suez Cement. Ciments Francais already owns 34.1 per cent of Suez Cement, and the company confirmed it will offer 80.05 Egyptian pounds per share, representing a 12 per cent premium to the company’s average share price in November. Hassan Heikal, co-executive director of Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes, was quoted by the Financial Times as saying the offer, if successful, would help reinforce confidence in the government’s commitment to reform. The sale would also be Egypt’s largest privatisation to date
Suez Cement, which controls around 22 pct of the Egyptian market, posted a non-consolidated net profit of 182.59m Egyptian pounds (US$29.3m) for the first nine months of 2004, up from 93.09m pounds (US$14.9m) in the same period of 2003. The company’s operating revenue rose 41.4 per cent year-on-year to 664.99m pounds (US$106.6m) and the cost of goods sold increased 22.4 pct to 374.86m pounds (US$60.1m). As a result, gross profit jumped to 290.12m pounds (US$46.5m) from 163.41m pounds (US$26.2m).