Egypt has no plans to IPO state-owned oil companies

08 August 2016

The government is considering public floats of only the joint ventures with international oil firms

Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum has no plans to sell shares of Cairo Oil Refining Company or any other oil and gas firm, which is fully owned by the government, in an initial public offering on the country’s bourse, according to a ministry official.

The government is considering public floats of the joint ventures between the government and the foreign oil companies only, the local news agency Amwal Al-Ghad cited the Hamdy Abdel-Aziz, the petroleum ministry spokesman as saying.

There have been varied reports in local and international media citing different government officials on possible listings of state-controlled companies.

Egypt, the most populous Arab nation, has struggled with political instability and a sputtering economy since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 20111. Tourism, a main source of the government revenues has collapsed and the government is facing a protracted foreign currency crisis. The Emirates NBD purchasing managers’ index (PMI) has been in contraction since October as companies are forced to cut staff and new orders, hitting export values.

Egypt now needs to plug a current account deficit of 5.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and a fiscal deficit of 11.1 per cent of GDP in 2016, according to IMF figures.

The country hasn’t attracted many foreign direct investments of note over the past few years. As a way to unlock value state assets and boost revenues, the Egyptian presidency announced earlier in January that it plans to offer shares of “successful” state-owned companies and banks on the local bourse – the first public offering of government-owned firms since 2005, when it offered shares in Telecom Egypt amongst others.

Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla last week told news agency Reuters that Egypt was studying the possibility of selling shares in eight government-owned petroleum firms, and the Ministry of Investment will assess the suitability of the companies.

“We sent the names of eight petroleum companies to the Ministry of Investment last week to be studied, paving the way to issuing some of their shares on the bourse or increasing their capital,” El-Molla was quoted as saying.

Among the entities being studied for public offerings were Middle East Oil Refinery (Midor) and the Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Company (Ethudco). Authorities are also contemplating capital increases for Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (Amco), Misr Fertilizers Production Company (Mopco) and for Midor, the minister said without disclosing the names of the remaining companies or the value and date of any of the planned IPOs.

Egyptian press recently reported that the government is studying the opportunity to launch public floats of 17 or 18 state-owned companies, which are thought to include banks, petroleum, petrochemicals companies and electricity companies.

The state-owned National Investment Bank subsidiary NI Capital is coordinating the preparation of the entities for possible initial public offerings.

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