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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Egyptian government to investors: We’re staying the course on the IPO program, and the tax treatment of banks is in line with international norms

Gov’t to investors: We’re staying the course on the IPO program; the tax treatment of banks is in line with international norms. Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and Public Enterprise Minister Hisham Tawfik briefed investors yesterday at a Beltone investor access event. Among the highlights, according to a research note circulated after the event (pdf):

  • The government is holding the line on the sale of state-owned companies via IPO and accelerated book builds, Tawfik said. The core issue is the intersection of timing and price. Expect the state’s plans for the second phase of the IPO program to be made clear by year’s end;
  • A parallel restructuring drive continues as the Tawfik’s ministry looks not just to bring loss-making companies to profitability (or liquidate them, as we’ve previously reported), but also to help profit-making companies in insurance and maritime transport “realize their full potential”;
  • Dormant state assets, mostly land, will be transferred to the sovereign wealth fund;
  • Finance Minister Mohamed Maait recapped current macro indicators with a focus on GDP growth (5.8% this fiscal year) and deficit reduction. This is helping fund social security measures and comes as the state is making progress on debt reduction.
  • The tax treatment of bank holdings of bills and bonds is simply fair, Maait suggested: “The current tax rate on the proceeds of government securities is set at 20%, while the tax on commercial and industrial profits at 22.5%. He added that the move ensures tax equality with regards to financial institutions investment in government securities and also the fair collection of taxes due on profits earned from the rest of their activities.”

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