Regulator: Egypt’s Pioneers Holdings still interested in Arab Dairy bid

Egyptian financial firm Pioneers Holdings is still interested in bidding for Arab Dairy, the country's regulator said on Sunday, after a rival group last week raised its offer and topped Pioneers' bid.

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Board said in a statement that Pioneers, which already owns 25 percent of Arab Dairy, had on Sunday "expressed its desire to continue in the bidding process according to a sealed bids system".

The regulator said it would set out a date and location to open the sealed bids. The regulator had said on Feb. 15 that since 60 days had passed since the first offer, final offers would be made through sealed bids.

A subsidiary of Europe's biggest dairy group, Lactalis, had raised its offer for Arab Dairy to 65.75 Egyptian pounds per share.

The revised bid values Arab Dairy at 395 million Egyptian pounds ($51.77 million) compared with around 385 million Egyptian pounds for the latest Pioneers' offer.

Egypt's market regulator said at the time it had accepted the new bid from the Lactalis subsidiary, called Al-Nour for Dairy Industries, and had extended the deadline for new bids to Feb. 22.

Pioneers had increased its offer for the company to 64.30 pounds per share on Feb. 8, topping the previous offer of 63 pounds from Lactalis.

Pioneers originally bid 56 pounds a share for the Egyptian cheese maker in August but has been forced to increase its offer price after rivals entered the fray.

The battle for control of Arab Dairy is part of a recent flurry of activity on Egypt's stock exchange, signalling resurgent interest from international investors in a market looking to restore confidence after the turmoil unleashed by a 2011 uprising which ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.

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