Gates, U.S. investors commit $1 billion for stake in Egypt's OCI

CAIRO Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:45pm EST

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Bill Gates is among a group of U.S. investors which has committed $1 billion to buy a stake in Egyptian construction and fertilizer company OCI NV in one of the largest foreign currency inflows to Egypt since the 2011 revolution that swept Hosni Mubarak from power.

OCI NV said on Friday it had launched an exchange offer to acquire all of the outstanding global depositary receipts of parent firm Orascom Construction Industries SAE (OCIC.CA) in exchange for ordinary shares in OCI NV.

The transaction also consists of an offer to acquire all of OCI's ordinary shares in exchange for OCI NV shares or a cash amount of 280 Egyptian pounds ($42.41) per share, a 4 percent premium to Thursday's closing price.

OCI NV is a wholly owned subsidiary of OCI SAE and the umbrella for OCI's international operations.

It was due to start trading on the NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam on January 25, and plans to subsequently launch an American Depository Receipts program on the New York Stock Exchange, the statement said.

OCI NV said it had obtained commitments in excess of $2 billion from participating investors to pay shareholders who elect to sell their OCI ordinary shares for cash.

This includes $1 billion from U.S. investors comprising Cascade Investment, L.C.C., which is wholly owned by Bill Gates, as well as Southeastern Asset Management and Davis Selected Advisers, it said.

"This transaction is proof of the existing international appetite to invest in Egypt and bodes well for the Egyptian economy with more than $1 billion committed by U.S. investors," OCI CEO Nassef Sawiris said in a statement.

"We expect our new profile to positively impact the Group's ability to expand in Egypt and pursue its growth strategy."

OCI NV expects the transaction to allow it deeper access to capital markets such as the Eurobond market, an enhanced investor profile and better growth opportunities.

($1 = 6.6028 Egyptian pounds)

(Writing by Tom Perry; editing by Jason Neely)

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