UPDATE 1-Egypt's Citadel Capital narrows loss in 2011

Thu May 3, 2012 1:00pm EDT

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By Patrick Werr

CAIRO May 3 (Reuters) - Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital said on Thursday it had narrowed its net loss in 2011 after reducing the size of writedowns of underperforming assets.

Its consolidated net loss decreased to 800.5 million Egyptian pounds ($132.39 million) from 1.36 billion pounds in 2010, it said in an emailed statement.

The write-downs included its investment in Egypt-based National Petroleum Co. (NPC), which Citadel said earlier in the year it intended to sell.

The private equity firm, which focuses on the Middle East and north Africa, said the value of assets under its management grew 6.3 percent in 2011 to $4.3 billion and the value of assets under its control increased by 8.7 percent to $9.5 billion.

"Despite substantial headwinds from the economic fallout attendant to the revolution, we raised nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in new equity and debt for our investments," the statement quoted its Chairman Ahmed Heikal as saying.

The narrowing of the loss was largely due to reduced impairment charges against assets. Citadel took a charge of 199.7 million pounds in 2011 versus a charge of 1.07 billion pounds in 2010.

These stemmed "largely from non-cash write-downs of previously impaired upstream oil and gas investment (at) NPC, non-cash expenses related to the clean-up of investments at the portfolio-company level at other platforms, as well as non-cash foreign exchange losses related to investments in Sudan," it said.

Citadel said on Thursday it had extended until Aug. 8 a non-binding agreement to sell NPC to Canadian-listed company Sea Dragon Energy Inc in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $147.5 million. ($1 = 6.0465 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Patrick Werr; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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