UPDATE 1-US investor takes stake in Egyptian developer Palm Hills

Wed May 7, 2014 8:02am EDT

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CAIRO May 7 (Reuters) - U.S private equity firm Ripplewood has acquired a 2.3 percent stake in Egyptian developer Palm Hills, it said on Wednesday, adding that it hopes to increase its stake.

"We believe Palm Hills is well-positioned as one of Egypt's leading real estate developers and hope that we can help enhance the company's efforts in its development of new projects," said Timothy Collins, Ripplewood's founder and CEO.

"We are also confident in the future prospects of the company as we expect to increase our stake over time after this initial investment," he added.

Palm Hills is the country's second largest listed property developer. It struggled in 2012 after it faced investigations into previous state land sales and client cancellations following an uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

But in 2013 it turned a profit, making 236.8 million pounds ($402.38 million) compared with a net loss of 134.6 million in the previous year.

On Monday the firm said it is in talks with the Arab African International Bank (AAIB) over a 2.4 billion pound loan which it will use to finance projects and refinance around 640 million pounds from its current bank loans.

($1 = 0.5885 British Pounds) (Reporting by Asma Alsharif; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens)

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