Finding New Interest, Egypt Readies to Resume State Firm IPOs

Egypt is readying to resume a stalled program to sell stakes in state-run firms, and has set its sights on around five companies that could be offered to investors, the public enterprise minister said Thursday.

Hisham Tawfik, in an interview with Bloomberg, declined to identify the companies or provide a time frame for when they could be offered. He attributed the decision to restart the program to improving conditions, including the return of investors to the local stock market and “an appetite that’s different now than what it was four months ago.”

The move signals confidence by the government that its efforts to revive the economy, despite pressure from the coronavirus pandemic, are paying off. Authorities had initially targeted selling stakes in more than 20 companies as part of a broader effort to overhaul a bloated and loss-making public sector. The companies ranged from banks to fertilizer makers. So far, however, they’ve managed only to sell an additional stake in the state-run tobacco monopoly, Eastern Tobacco.

Tawfik said that there had been a ministerial committee meeting last week to discuss the companies that could be offered. He declined to provide additional details.

In tandem with this move, Egypt is offering up to as much as 100% in two military-linked companies and is considering stake sales for several others.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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