CAIRO: Egyptian shares drifted lower on Monday even as mobile telecom firms jumped on news that operator Vodafone Egypt had bought a 3G licence for $586 million, traders said. Egypt said it had signed a deal with Vodafone for a 15-year third generation mobile license, and Vodafone could start offering 3G services after Egypt s third mobile operator Etisalat starts operations, expected by the end of this quarter. That would be considered positive for Vodafone. A lot of people think that with Etisalat coming out with 3G … that it would take market share from (operators) Mobinil and Vodafone, said Yasser Hassanein of Dynamic Securities. The fact that they got the license shows they are going to stay competitive in the market.
Shares in Vodafone Egypt jumped 5 percent to close at LE 87.18 while rival mobile operator Mobinil was up 0.8 percent to LE 184. But the benchmark Hermes index dipped 0.4 percent to close at 60,363.85 points, while the broader CIBC-100 index ended 0.8 percent lower at 292.83 points. The well-watched Case 30 index fell 0.5 percent to 6,930.09 points. Dealers said several big caps led by investment bank EFG-Hermes, which is popular among retail investors, were dragging the market down. EFG-Hermes ended the day 3.2 percent lower at LE 38.80 after it announced that its subsidiary October Property Development Limited, which was available for sale , had sold 500,000 shares it held in Sixth of October for Development and Investment (SODIC) in a deal carried out on Thursday.