Egypt Watch

Saudi Public Investment Fund acquires Egyptian companies, including a leading digital systems group

The Saudi Public Investment Fund has acquired 89.49% of the shares of the Egyptian Giza Systems Group, a leading digital transformation and technology systems company in the Middle East and North Africa that provides integrated technology solutions in the fields of communications, infrastructure, oil, gas, transportation, and innovative housing. This came through a purchase agreement worth $158 million for the Arab Company for Internet and Communications Services, the first provider of information technology solutions in the kingdom and a subsidiary of the Saudi Telecom Company.

The agreement also included the acquisition of 34% of Giza Systems’ stake in the Giza Arabian Systems, which was subjected to human rights criticism in March 2014 in a joint report by three Egyptian human rights organizations submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council, for its involvement in importing and installing surveillance and spyware software for the Egyptian government.

The CEO of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, Ayman Soliman, confirmed that Siemens stations and the National Petroleum Company are among the options before the Saudi Public Investment Fund, explaining that the fund is interested in investing in food and pharmaceutical industries, green economy, education, health care, and financial technology.

On the economic feasibility of acquisition deals, Wael Gamal, an economic researcher, explained that it is beneficial for foreign cash flow, but only once after the completion of the sale, knowing that if there are no restrictions on transferring profits, which is the case in Egypt, the new owner has the right to move it abroad. Gamal pointed out that acquisitions investments, which include already existing activities, are different from green investments, which are based on new investments that are being established. Thus, the latter is considered to have a higher added value than the former since they must combine acquisitions with investment expansions to return to the overall economy with added value. On the other hand, new investments are an added value to the economy, he said.