CAIRO, (Reuters) – Orascom Telecom led Egyptian shares down on Sunday in a session that saw Al Watany Bank rising on rumors that it may sell a stake to a regional bank at a premium to the market price.
Traders said there were rumours, unconfirmed by Al Watany, that several Gulf banks had submitted competing bids for a controlling stake, and the central bank was considering the offers.
“What is doing this is speculation that the offer is going to be at a premium to the market price,” said Mohamed Radwan of Delta Securities.
Shares in Al Watany were up 9.3 percent to close at 48.24 Egyptian pounds ($8.46) , and traders said they expected a deal could go through at a price in the mid-50 pound range.
The Egyptian bank said on March 11 that an unspecified number of regional banks, whom it did not identify, were seeking a controlling stake.
Shares in investment bank Naeem Holding, which reported $20.7 million in net profit before minority interest for the May-December period, rose 4.6 percent to $2.27.
Leading the way down was regional telecommunications giant Orascom Telecom, which shed 2 percent to close at 379.20 pounds a share, one day after it was disqualified from a bid for a third mobile phone license in Saudi Arabia.
Orascom Construction (OCI), another market heavyweight, also ended the session down 1.8 percent at 285 pounds a share. Shares in Commercial International Bank also dropped 1.3 percent to 56.76 pounds.
Overall, the benchmark Hermes index closed 0.6 percent lower at 63,270.83 points, while the widely watched CASE 30 index slipped 0.7 percent to 7,196.80 points.