Feb 8, 2023
After Devaluation, Egypt Eyes Bargain Hunters With State Firm Offering
(Bloomberg) -- Egypt revived a stalled plan to sell stakes in state-run companies, including in two military-affiliated firms, as part of a drive to revamp a battered economy and secure much-needed foreign currency.
Under the program, the government will offer stakes in 32 firms in a variety of sectors, ranging from banking and oil to real estate, insurance and ports, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told reporters Wednesday. The move is billed as a key part of Egypt’s broader push to reform an economy tipped into crisis by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent food and energy prices soaring.
The stake sales should be completed within the next year, he said, and include share offerings to the public, block sales to strategic investors or a combination of the two. The government doesn’t have a target value for the sales, Madbouly told Bloomberg separately.
Notable businesses up for grabs include three banks — Banque du Caire SAE, Arab African International Bank, United Bank — and Wataniya, an army-linked fuel-distribution company.
The potential sales are being closely watched by investors after Egypt’s three currency devaluations in the past year indicated an effort to reverse years of economic and fiscal missteps. The devaluation helped the country, one of the Middle East’s most indebted, secure a $3 billion IMF program that, in turn, is expected to unlock billions of dollars more in funding.
Madbouly said officials had to devise various scenarios for the challenges ahead and needed to “have a clear vision of the path of the Egyptian economy for at least two years.”
The IMF deal includes some tough measures, such as the government following through on pledges to back out of some industries and support the private sector. At the same time, the state must cut spending without affecting the most vulnerable parts of the population and cope with a rising debt-servicing bill.
The risks ahead for Egypt were made even clearer on Tuesday, as Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the country’s credit rating to B3 from B2. Moody’s cited what it said are “reduced external buffers and shock absorption capacity while the economy undergoes a structural change toward a more export- and private sector-led growth model under a flexible exchange-rate regime.”
Read from 2018: Egypt Eyes $5.7 Billion Windfall From State Company IPOs
The latest offerings are a continuation of a 2016 program, which, over a period of years, saw little success in selling stakes in the vast majority of more than 20 state-run firms put on the auction block. Officials at the time blamed the downturn in global market conditions and repeatedly delayed pressing ahead with other offerings.
Among the companies included in the latest offering are:
- Banque du Caire
- Arab African International Bank
- United Bank
- Safi - mineral water manufacturer
- Pachin - paint and chemicals
- Helwan Fertilizers
- Ethydco- Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Company
- Sinai Manganese
- Misr Insurance
- El-Nasr Housing and Development
- Port Said Containers
- Damietta Containers
- ELAB - Egyptian Linear Alkyl Benzene
- Hotels owned by the Public Enterprise Ministry
(Updates with additional company names, adds quotes, context and background)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
BNN Bloomberg Picks
What happens if you mistakenly get a larger tax refund?
Is your retirement portfolio ready for what's to come?
Canadians are staring a recession in the face: David Rosenberg
Canadians' wages kept growing in February: StatsCan
Travel stocks: Three hot picks from Michael Bellisario
What mortgage owners need to know about the Bank of Canada's rate pause