Egypt postpones share sale of state firms until September – minister

Egypt has decided to postpone the planned offering of shares of some state firms on the stock exchange until September after the summer vacation, Public Enterprise Minister Hisham Tawfik told Reuters on Saturday.

The North African country had planned to sell some shares of four to six companies in the financial year ending next month, but Minister Tawfik said the sales would now begin in September, without giving details.

Egypt has been searching for foreign exchange since Russia’s war in Ukraine prompted investors to pull billions of dollars out of its treasury markets, driving the central bank to devalue the national currency by 14 percent on March 21.

It has been in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for more than a month for a new financial support package.

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said on Saturday the government was working on ways to allure more investment, including “participation by the private sector in state-owned assets.”

In April, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the government to draw up a programme to attract $40 billion in private participation over the next four years. This would involve listing army-owned enterprises on the stock exchange by year end and the sale of stakes in some state-owned companies.

In 2020, the government announced it was offering two military firms, Wataniya Petroleum and bottled water maker Safi, for sale, but neither transaction has yet been completed.

Abu Dhabi’s state holding company ADQ last month acquired shares worth $1.85 billion in five Egyptian companies listed in Cairo stock exchange, namely, Commercial International Bank, electronic payments company Fawry, Alexandria Container and Cargo Handling Co, Misr Fertilisers Production Co (MOPCO), and Abu Qir Fertilisers and Chemical Industries.

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