Egypt travel ban lifted on PE firm Citadel Capital chairman

Leading African and Middle Eastern private equity investor Citadel Capital (www.citadelcapital.com) said yesterday (19 June) that Egypt’s public prosecutor has lifted a travel ban imposed in April on its chairman Ahmed Heikal, according to a report on Reuters.
The company announced on 16 June that Citadel Capital Partners Ltd. (CCP), the vehicle through which members of the Executive Committee hold their equity in Citadel Capital, sold approximately 13.4 million shares in Citadel Capital with a total amount of approximately EGP 74 mn (US$12.4 mn) last week and lent the money to Citadel “to strengthen the firm’s cash position”.
According to the Reuters report, the Government had ordered Heikal not to travel while investigators probed corruption allegations against several business leaders and government officials linked to former President Hosni Mubarak. Heikal and former prime minister Atef Obeid were accused of links to profiteering and embezzling public money. Reuters reports that Citadel shares fell 10% after the ban on 14 April and have lost a third of their value since the start of the year. Citadel is listed on the Egyptian Exchange (CCAP.CA).
According to the report, Citadel said: “The public prosecutor has agreed today to remove the name of Ahmed Heikal, the company’s chairman, from the list of people banned from travelling.”
Reuters also says that Dubai-based Abraaj Capital (www.abraaj.com) has talked with Citadel about possibly buying a stake. FT Tilt also has an interesting story on the deal, discussing whether Abraaj is seizing an opportune moment and noting that Citadel shares climbed sharply in trading on 19 June.
CCP owns approximately 33% of Citadel Capital SAE shares as of 16 June 2011 and the company statement does not say who bought the shares. CCP has lent the funds to Citadel Capital “until regulatory approvals are obtained for the planned capital increase”.
According to the company, Citadel Capital has $8.7 bn in investments under its control. It “focuses on building regional platforms in select industries through acquisitions, turnarounds, and greenfields executed via Opportunity-Specific Funds. The firm’s 19 OSFs now control Platform Companies with investments worth more than $8.7 bn in 14 countries spanning 15 industries, including mining, cement, transportation, food and energy.
“Since 2004, Citadel Capital has generated more than $2.5 bn in cash returns to its co-investors and shareholders (on investments of $650 mn), more than any other private equity firm in the region. Citadel Capital is the largest private equity firm in Africa by PE assets under management (2006-2011, as ranked by Private Equity International).”

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