Egypt's Pioneers eyes GDRs, regional expansion
Cairo, October 21, 2010
Egyptian financial services company Pioneers Holding is looking into issuing global depositary receipts (GDRs) and expanding into new Middle Eastern markets, a board member said.
"We are studying issuing GDRs right now based on requests from our shareholders," Pioneers board member Khaled El Tayeb said without providing further details.
The company is looking to expand into countries including Kuwait, Qatar, Libya, Morocco and Jordan over the next two years, he said, either through mergers and acquisitions or by acquiring new licenses in those markets.
Pioneers, which specialises in brokerage services, offers market research and investment banking for retail and institutional clients. It operates in the UAE, Bahrain and Syria, in addition to Egypt.
The most populous Arab country's economic expansion during the global downturn has attracted investors, with growth just below 5 percent.
But investors are wary ahead of the 2011 election, which could bring an end to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's three decades in power.
Tayeb said lack of clarity before Egypt's parliamentary and presidential elections had cast some doubt on Egypt's investment climate.
"These factors have been present in Egypt for years ... and they should not deter foreign investors," Tayeb said.
He said Egypt needed to introduce clear investment legislation and strategies that protect investors. "Investors should not be subject to legal rows similar to what happened with the Madinaty project."
Talaat Moustafa's flagship Madinaty development has been mired in a legal row since June, when a court said the contract for the sale of state land for the project was illegal. The case has rattled real estate investors.
The government approved a plan to scrap the original contract, but said it would reallocate the land to the company under the same terms based on its right to act in the national interest.
Although the solution quelled some immediate investor concerns, analysts have said a long-term solution is needed. - Reuters