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Sunday, 15 January 2023

Five state + military-owned companies added to pre-IPO fund

The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) has added five state- and military-owned companies to its pre-IPO fund as the government gears up to restart its privatization program, Bloomberg Asharq reported Thursday, citing two sources it says are familiar with the matter. Officials at the SFE did not reply to requests for comment before dispatch time this morning.

Who’s in? Two military-owned firms — bottled drinks firm Safi and fuel retailer Wataniya — are in the fund, alongside Banque du Caire, Misr Life Ins., and Egyptian Linear Alkyl Benzene (Elab).

Up for grabs: The fund will offer a 20-30% stake in these companies to strategic investors.

A January roadshow: The SFE will market the companies to regional and international strategic investors in a roadshow this month. A number of Arab sovereign wealth funds have expressed interest in acquiring shares in the military firms, SFE boss Ayman Soliman said previously.

A route to the EGX: The SFE set up its pre-IPO fund in September to prepare state-owned companies for eventual listing on the EGX. It will sell shares in a number of companies to strategic investors before proceeding with public share sales when global market conditions have improved.

Some context, #1- This is about what we expected. None of these are “new” names — all are perennial candidates for privatization. Wataniya and Safi have been part of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt-led program to open up military-affiliated companies for privatization since late 2020. Banque du Caire’s long-planned IPO has been subject to repeated delays while Misr Life Ins. was eyeing a 2H 2022 window for its IPO. Elab has been in the lineup for the state IPO program since 2018.

Some context, #2- Don’t expect Safi or Wataniya to start with an IPO — the state has signaled that it is much more likely to sell a stake of each to a strategic investor, with an IPO coming at a later stage.

Some context, #3- Don’t expect the IPO floodgates to open anytime soon. The EGP needs to find its footing and international institutional investors must return to the market before the EGX can support large, high-profile offerings.

BACKGROUND- The state wants to raise as much as USD 6 bn through strategic stake sales via the pre-IPO fund, Planning Minister and SFE head Hala El Said has said. The fund will sell shares worth USD 2.5-3 bn during an initial phase before offering another USD 3 bn at a later date, she said in September. The report in Asharq did not attach a value to the five companies.

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