The first offer came from the Netherlands arm of Pilkingtonof the UK, which on 6 May increased its bid to £E 167 ($36.3) from £E 160 ($34.8) a share for a 70-90 per cent stake. Its rival – a team of US-owned Guardian Middle East & Africaand the Egypt Kuwait Holding Company – increased its offer the following day by £E 4 ($0.87) to £E 169 ($36.7) a share for 80.5-100 per cent of the firm. The offers were to remain valid for one week. The company has 1.75 million shares in total.

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. It is being advised by International Development Consultants. Guardian, which is being advised by EFG-Hermes, is a leading international glassmaker whose investments include a stake in a Saudi venture.

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. The company has secured a dominant share of the local market, and is looking to expand into regional markets.