Algiers and Tunis directly own 40 per cent each of Sotacib while the remainder is held by Banque de Co-operation du Maghreb Arabe, itself a joint venture between the two governments. ‘The plan is to sell off all of the company,’ says a Sotacib official. ‘Whether it goes to a single buyer or a number of investors will be up to the mandated bank.’

Sotacib has a single cement plant in Feriana, 250 kilometres west of Tunis. The 20-year-old plant has capacity of 210,000 tonnes a year and is powered by gas from Algeria. The facility is among a total of 34 entities slated for sale under the government’s latest round of privatisations (MEED 15:8:03).