Sale of Egypt’s Eastern Company to take place as soon as market conditions improve -Public Enterprise Minister
** #5 IPO WATCH- Eastern sale to take place as soon as market conditions improve: The sale of an additional 4.5% stake in the Eastern Tobacco Company on the EGX will take place as soon as stock market conditions improve, Public Enterprise Minister Hisham Tawfik said yesterday, denying our exclusive report from earlier this week that the state privatization program had been postponed to the first quarter of 2019. Tawfik told a local newspaper that the government “did not postpone the program to a specific date,” noting that the Eastern sale could happen “in two weeks or in two months’ time” if the stock price bounces back from its current slump.
Background: The government announced on Friday that the transaction — which is expected to pilot the privatization program — had been put on ice “indefinitely” after Eastern’s share price plunged by as much as 11.5% last week, pressured by the wider emerging market selloff, a high interest rate environment, a looming trade war, and the introduction of protectionist measures in various countries. Our sources had told us that cabinet, while completely committed to the program, had made the decision to push the timeline after consulting with investment bankers. They had also told us that officials could potentially use the time to tweak the list of companies that will be on offer.
This came as Eastern reported a net profit after tax of EGP 991 mn in 1Q2018/19, down 4.83% y-o-y, according to a disclosure to the bourse (pdf). Revenues were up 6.77% compared to the same period last year at EGP 3.39 bn, but the company attributed the drop in net profit to a y-o-y decrease in interest income, it said in a separate disclosure (pdf).
CIHC names new Eastern MD, chairman: In other company news, the Chemical Industries Holding Company (CIHC), which owns 55% of the cigarette-maker, named Hany Hussein as Eastern’s new Managing Director, according to a statement picked up by Al Mal. Tamer Gadallah was also named the company’s new chairman of the board, replacing Mohamed Haroun, who had occupied both positions.