Weekly: Israeli Shares in Egypt's Midor Refinery Bought Out by National Bank
The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has bought out the shares of the Israeli Merhav Company in the Middle East Oil Refinery (Midor) for 600 million pounds ($155 million), reported the weekly Middle East Times on Sunday.
NBE chairman Ahmed Diaeddine said that the shares were purchased in three installments through the Cairo Stock Exchange.
The purchase of Merhav's shares makes the bank Midor's largest shareholder - at 38 percent - after the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corp., which owns 60 percent of Midor's shares through two affiliates.
On May 30, Yossi Maiman denied Associated Press reports from Egypt that his Merhav, the biggest Israeli investor in Egypt, had sold its 14-percent stake in the refinery.
Egypt's Parliament - under the cloud of the Al Aqsa Intifada - debated in mid-May the future of the joint Israeli-Egyptian refinery, built near Alexandria and seen as an example of peaceful cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Egyptian Economy and Trade Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali told lawmakers, however, that Egypt wanted Israel to sell its stake in Midor.
The 100,000 barrels-per-day refinery was built with US and European technical assistance after the deal was sealed in 1996. The refinery was originally owned by Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem and Maiman's Merhav group. The European Bank of Investment provided about $300 million in long-term credit for the refinery.
At its launch, each side had 40 percent of the refinery's equity. Egypt General Petroleum, which was to provide the crude oil, held the rest.
According to the weekly, Egyptian shareholders in Midor are holding negotiations with Arab investors from Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain to sell some of their shares, especially after the increase of the company's capital to $1.2 billion - Albawaba.com
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