Citadel Capital of Egypt plans to invest more in East Africa

Citadel's wheat in Sudan
Bloomberg | Aug 1, 2011

Citadel Capital of Egypt plans to invest more in East Africa

By Eric Ombok

Citadel Capital SAE, an Egyptian private-equity company with $8.7 billion in assets under management, said it will boost spending in eastern Africa after a “gratifying experience” investing in Kenya and Uganda.

The company, based in Cairo, will invest in commercial agriculture, energy, low-income housing and food processing, Chairman Ahmed Heikal said yesterday in an interview in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

“We are interested in increasing our exposure,” Heikal said. “All of this is on the back of clear encouragement and support from both governments in RVR.”

In Kenya, the company owns 51 percent of Rift Valley Railways Ltd. or RVR, the operator of the Kenya-Uganda rail line. RVR is today scheduled to sign a $164 million loan accord that forms part of a $287 million expansion plan for the railway that links the Ugandan capital, Kampala, to the Kenyan port of Mombasa, East Africa’s biggest.

Citadel’s investments will be in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. In South Sudan, the company has oil concessions and a banking license that it will “pursue,” Heikal said, without providing further details. The company has a 250,000-acre (101,181-hectare) farm in southern Sudan and a similar-sized area of land in the north.

Last month, Citadel said the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority approved a $175 million rights offer. The sale of stock to existing shareholders will increase Citadel’s capital to 4.36 billion Egyptian pounds ($732 million). The company’s shareholders are expected to approve the transaction during an extraordinary general assembly on Aug. 3, Heikal said.

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