February 28, 2013 / 5:41 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Egypt trying to dissuade Orascom from delisting from local bourse

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CAIRO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The Egyptian government is holding talks with the country’s biggest listed company, Orascom Construction Industries, to dissuade it from delisting from the local stock exchange, Investment Minister Osama Saleh told the state news agency MENA on Thursday.

Last January the Dutch-listed parent, fertilizer and construction firm OCI NV, announced an offer to acquire the ordinary shares of its Egyptian-listed subsidiary.

The minister declined to elaborate and the company was not immediately available for comment.

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) asked last week for more information on the offer, a move that could delay completion of the deal under which some U.S. investors including Bill Gates would pay shareholders who choose to sell their ordinary, Egyptian-listed shares.

Omar Darwazah, head of investor relations for the Egyptian company, told Reuters last week that the question of a delisting had yet to be settled.

Shareholders also have the option to take shares in the Dutch parent, or reject both the cash offer and the share swap. Under Egyptian law, companies must have a free float of at least five percent of their capital on the stock market.

Darwazah denied OCI was turning its back on Egypt and said it wanted only to improve its ability to fund global expansion with international capital, noting that obtaining financing in Egypt has become very difficult.

Egypt is beset by economic and political uncertainty after the 2011 popular uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. (Reporting by Ahmed Tolbah and Yasmine Saleh; editing by David Stamp)

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