Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) expects to bid for the supermarket arm of Egypt's Mansour Group in the first quarter, MAF's chief executive said.
The statement came after MAF posted a 10 percent rise in annual revenue.
Mansour Group, also the largest distributor of General Motors cars in Egypt, aims to sell supermarket chain Metro and discount grocery store Kheir Zaman. Sources told Reuters in December that the deal was valued at $200 million to $300 million.
“We’re still in the due diligence phase, which we expect to be for another month or so,” Iyad Malas, chief executive of Majid Al Futtaim Holding, told Reuters. “At which time, we would hopefully make an offer that would be subject to negotiations and then would either conclude a transaction or not.”
The discussions signal growing appetite by Gulf-based firms to expand their presence in the most populous Arab state at a time when valuations are low due to political strife in Egypt.
Metro is the country’s largest supermarket chain with more than 40 outlets in 10 cities. Kheir Zaman has over 2,000 employees and 30 stores throughout the country.
Unlisted MAF, which reported a 10 percent rise in annual revenue to 21.6 billion dirhams ($5.9 billion) on Tuesday, entered Egypt in 2000 and it owns two shopping malls, plus 14 hypermarkets and supermarkets.
“We continue to believe that Egypt has a large consumer base that is attractive,” said Malas, adding the country provided 5-9 percent of the company’s revenue in 2012.
In Cairo, MAF will start building its Mall of Egypt project in the first quarter and also plans to expand its Maadi City Centre mall and develop land it owns near the city's airport.
The family-owned group is the sole franchisee of French hypermarket chain Carrefour in the Middle East and owns 11 shopping malls and 11 hotels in the Middle East and North Africa.