Pilkington, which already holds 10 per cent of the company and provided the float glass process for its 10 Ramadan City plant, offered to buy up to 1.35 million shares at £E 105 ($25) each. It set the condition that it must end up with at least 88 per cent of the company’s capital (MEED 2:11:01).

The Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchanges issued a statement on 11 November that the number of shares offered for sale at the proposed price amounted to just 1.4 per cent of the total shares. Cairo market sources say the shareholders had been unable to reach a consensus on the deal by the deadline set.

It is understood that National Bank of Egyptis planning to advertise a fresh tender for the sale of the 70 per cent of EGC held by public sector bodies in the next few weeks. These shareholders include the Metallurgical Industries Holding Company, the National Investment Bank and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation. The remaining 30 per cent of the company’s capital was raised through public subscription.

Pilkington says the non-tender of shares was expected. ‘We don’t think this reflects on the adequacy of our offer,’ a company official said. What happens next depends on the Egyptian government and on other factors such as the state of the economy, he said.

EGC started production at the end of 1998, with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year of clear and coloured plate glass. The company was profitable in its first full year of production, and recorded net profits of £E 15.2 million ($3.9 million) in the first half of 2001 (MEED 9:11:01).

Pilkington is being advised by Cairo-based International Development Consultants (IDC).