Bidding contest in prospect for glass firm

03 May 2002

Two groups submitted offers by the 30 April deadline for the acquisition of Egyptian Glass Company, opening the prospect of a tough bidding contest over the next few weeks (MEED 8:3:02).

The Capital Market Authority says that the offers have come from the Netherlands arm of Pilkingtonof the UK and from a team of US-owned Guardian Middle East & Africaand the Egypt Kuwait Holding Company. Pilkington has offered to pay £E 160 ($34.8) a share for 70-90 per cent of the company. The Guardian team has offered £E 165 ($35.9) a share for 80.5-100 per cent of the firm. The company has 1.5 million shares in total. Its share price was listed at £E 147.8 ($32.1) on 30 April.

Pilkington was one of the founders of the glass company, which has a plant in 10 Ramadan City producing 100,000 tonnes a year of clear and coloured plate glass, using Pilkington's float glass technology. The UK firm already holds a 10 per cent stake. Guardian is an investor in a plate glass company in Saudi Arabia.

According to the terms of the tender, Pilkington now has a chance to improve its offer. There are also possibilities for other bidders to enter the fray. 'We will evaluate the situation and respond within the designated framework,' says a Pilkington official.

The tender was launched in March after an offer by Pilkington to buy up to 90 per cent of the company at £E 105 ($22.8) a share was turned down. Public sector bodies hold some 70 per cent of the glass company. The tender is being handled by National Bank of Egypt.

The plant started production at the end of 1998, and has been consistently profitable.

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