A consortium of US investors has signed a preliminary agreement to acquire a 93 per cent stake in Amoun Pharmaceuticals in a deal worth at least £E 2,600 million ($451 million). The consortium includes Citigroup, Concord International and Capital International.

The agreement values shares in the company at between £E 47 ($8.15) and £E 52.50 ($9.10). Other bidders are still able to make higher offers. The remaining 7 per cent of the shares will continue to float on the Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchanges (CASE), although minority shareholders will have the option to sell their shares at the same price. The deal could go through within two months, says Amoun chairman Sarwat Bassily.

If it goes ahead, the deal would be the largest private equity transaction in Egyptian history. It overtakes the £E 1,653 million ($287 million) acquisition of local beverage manufacturer Al-Ahram Beverages Company (ABC) by Netherlands-based Heineken in 2002 and the £E 2,156 ($374 million) acquisition of ASEC Cement Group by Italy’s Italcementi.

Amoun makes generic pharmaceutical products and exports to Sub-Saharan Africa and central Asia as well as the Middle East. Its share price has fallen to £E 47 ($8.28) from more than £E 60 ($10.42) since the announcement on 21 June.