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Thursday, 16 March 2023

Gov’t to start marketing state companies to investors in April, says Maait

Mark April on your calendars: The Madbouly government will take to market some of the state-owned companies earmarked for privatization in its rebooted offering program, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said yesterday, according to Bloomberg. “The implementation has already started and some of these assets are going to the market next month,” the minister said on the sidelines of a financial conference in Riyadh.

Privatization program could expand further: The government could add another eight names to its list of companies destined for privatization, Maait said, without elaborating. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said last month that the government plans to partially privatize 32 companies by March 2024 via public offerings on the EGX, sales to strategic investors, or a mix of both.

Our candidates: We had been expecting to see Alexbank, eMethanex, Enppi, Assiut Oil Refining Company, and MIDOR on the list unveiled last month. Each of these companies were flagged by the EGX earlier this year as being in line for privatization.

Five banks could be sold: The program could include up to five state-owned banks, Maait said, name-checking the state’s 20% stake in Alexbank as well as Banque du Caire, AAIB, and United Bank. All of them are already on the list and the United Bank has attracted interest from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, but talks have reportedly stalled due to disagreements on valuation. It’s not clear to us which other bank(s) the state may be willing to exit, in whole or in part.

A roadshow for military firms has begun: CI Capital has reportedly started marketing military-owned firms Safi and Wataniya to strategic investors, and is looking to sell at 10% of each company.

REMEMBER- The privatization push is part of the country’s new state ownership policy which outlines how the government intends to more than double the private sector’s role in the economy to 65% and attract USD 40 bn in private investment by 2026. Under its recent loan agreement with the IMF, the government has committed to reducing the role of state- and military-owned firms in the economy, which it will do via public share offerings, stake sales to strategic investors, and expanding public-private partnerships.

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