(Reuters) – Egyptian financial services firm Pioneers Holding has won the race to buy Egypt’s Arab Dairy for 255 million Egyptian pounds ($33.4 million), beating a rival offer from Al Nour, the market regulator said on Monday.
The battle for control of the Egyptian cheese maker is part of a recent flurry of activity on the Cairo bourse, which has struggled to revive investor confidence in the turmoil that has followed the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
Pioneers’ bid of 71.11 pounds per share came in above the 71 pounds per share offered by Al-Nour for Dairy Industries, the head of the watchdog, Sherif Samy, told Reuters.
Al-Nour is a subsidiary of Europe’s biggest dairy group, Lactalis.
Pioneers CEO Walid Zaky said the acquisition was part of his company’s efforts to expand in the food sector, a fast-growing industry in the most populous Arab nation of 87 million people.
“We will pump new investments into Arab Dairy and increase production plans. We will not remove its shares from the bourse,” Zaky said.
Lactalis could not be reached immediately for comment.
Pioneers, which already owns 25 percent of Arab Dairy, is set to start buying up the shares it does not own later this week.
It initially announced its intention to bid for the company in August at 56 pounds per share, but that price was pushed up by competing bids from the Lactalis subsidiary.
Saudi Arabia’s Arrow Food Distribution and Denmark’s Arla Foods Amba also bid for Arab Dairy last year. ($1 = 7.6300 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Susan Thomas and Louise Heavens)