Home / NEWS / Bill Gates leads $1bn US investment in Orascom

Bill Gates leads $1bn US investment in Orascom

on Jan 20, 2013

(Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
(Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

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Orascom Construction Industries has announced that Comprising Cascade Investment - an investment vehicle owned by Microsoft founder Bill Gates - and other US backers have invested $1bn in the company.

The investors, which also include Southeastern Asset Management and Davis Selected Advisers, are to receive shares in the company as part of a deal that will also see Orascom relocate its corporate address from Cairo to Amsterdam and list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange's Euronext bourse.

Its Middle East and North Africa HQ will remain in Egypt, however, and the deal "will not result in any changes to the day-to-day operations of the business in Egypt", the company said.

The deal effectively sees the three US firms helping to fund Orascom's expansion to allow it to carry out more work developing infrastructure projects in Egypt and elsewhere and is part of an overall fundraising worth $2bn.

Orascom's two leading existing investors - the founding Sawiris family and Dubai-based buyout company Abraaj Group - are also taking part in the deal, which will see a mandatory tender offer to buy all of OCI's ordinary shares in exchange for shares in the Amsterdam-listed venture.

The pair have agreed to fund cash alternatives to the offer, and as a result they expect to continue "at a minimum to maintain the same level of ownership...or they may increase their holdings" according to the offer document sent to shareholders.

OCI CEO Nassef Sawiris said: "This transaction is proof of the existing international appetite to invest in Egypt and bodes well for the Egyptian economy with more than $1bn committed by US investors.

"OCI's existing Egyptian operational headquarters, assets, and 45,000 Egyptian employees comprising half of the Group's global employee base stand to benefit from our expanded access to capital. We expect our new profile to positively impact the Group's ability to expand in Egypt and pursue its growth strategy."