Privatization program can drum up enough interest, but does the government still have time?
Egypt has the capacity to drum up enough interest to sell stakes from four major public companies on the EGX this year, but time is running short, Renaissance Capital MENA CEO Ahmed Badr tells Bloomberg in an interview (watch, runtime: 5:16). “I’m a bit skeptical on the public side whether they’re actually going to have enough time to do it now or not.” Finance Minister Mohamed Maait had told us earlier this week that the first wave of the government’s privatization program will include stake sales by five companies and that a detailed timeline would be published this week or the next.
Liquidity is “quite low” in the Egyptian equities market, according to Badr, who said that the solution is for new players to enter the playing field “because you need more depth. Egypt is still lacking a bit of depth and that’s why you still reflect in liquidity.” He noted that Egypt has been attracting EM investors, as well as frontier and Africa investors, but not global EM investors.
As for Renaissance Capital, the firm is currently working on “one of the largest infrastructure and construction plays in Egypt,” which Badr expects to see resolution towards the end of the year.