Egypt puts state-companies stake sales on ice due to “unfavourable” market: minister

Egypt has shelved its plan to sell stakes in state-owned companies due to the “unfavourable” market conditions caused by the covid-19 pandemic, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik told Bloomberg.

The suspension will remain in place until further notice, Tawfik.

Tawfik had said in March that the IPO programme was suspended thanks to pandemic-induced market turmoil, but a government official had signaled at the time that the government could come back with a new plan for the program come May.

Investors are flocking back to the local debt market after have pulling out around $17 billion during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The government had sought to sell additional stakes in more than 20 companies to overhaul a bloated and loss-making public sector as part of its broader effort to revive the economy after years of stagnation. The companies ranged from banks to fertilizer makers.

Out of the two dozen companies slated to IPO or offer secondary stakes, only a single offering has materialized: Eastern Tobacco’s 4.5 percent secondary offering in March last year.

Banque du Caire had planned to debut 20-30 percent of its shares on the EGX in April but shelved plans due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

State-owned e-payments firm E-Finance also pushed its IPO date to the final quarter of 2020. Alexandria Containers, Abu Qir Fertilizers, and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals have also pushed back stake sales