The sale of a 51 per cent stake in state-owned Credit Populaire d’Algerie (CPA) was suspended in late November after bidders expressed concerns about their ability to submit competitive bids.

The bidders said they were constrained by a shortage of credit resulting from the global crisis in mortgage lending to those with poor credit ratings (MEED 29:11:07).

“The process of opening up the capital of CPA will resume only when foreign banks are ready to compete, and no date has been set at the moment for the resumption of privatisation of the bank,” says a source at the finance ministry, according to state press agency Algerie Presse Service.

Fatiha Mentouri, the deputy finance minister responsible for the sale, says these banks would not be able to assess the impact of the crisis on their financial situation before February or March.

BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Natexis, all French, were in the running to take an interest in the bank when the sale was suspended.