Linklaters lights the path to Egyptian offer

Linklaters & Paines played a key advisory role in the first offering by an Egyptian company of global depository receipts to international investors.

The receipts enable foreign investors to hold shares in Egypt's Commercial International Bank, in which the Egyptian government has reduced its holding for the second time in two years. In the latest deal, the state cut its stake in the CIB from 43 per cent to about 20 per cent.

Linklaters acted for ING Barings, the merchant bank which co-ordinated the offering that was about five times over-subscribed.

Nick Eastwell, Linklaters international finance partner, said: “Egypt is a developing country where investors see opportunities for growth.”

He added that although the Middle East is not as buoyant as the Far East, “it is an emerging market with great potential. The most optimistic scenario is dependant on the success of the Middle East peace talks.”

The CIB deal involved investigatory and due diligence work to ensure the transaction complied with Egyptian law. “There was a fair bit of pathfinding to do,” explained Eastwell, who headed a team which included Charles Howarth.

Linklaters is working on several other deals in the region, particularly in Lebanon where last year it advised on the first Lebanese global depository receipt issue by locally-based Banque Audi.