Egypt Watch

Egyptian government to sell $1.5 billion securities

On Thursday, Asharq Business said the Egyptian government would start promoting the sale of financial certificates worth about $1.5 billion to help bridge a financing gap estimated by the International Monetary Fund at about $17 billion.

According to the news website, the certificates will likely be sold to Citigroup, Crédit Agricole, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC Egypt and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. Last week, the Egyptian government said it intends to sell at least 32 state-owned companies in 2023.

Among the companies are Banque du Caire, The United Bank, and the Egyptian government’s share in the Arab African International Bank. Wataniya Petroleum and Safi Waters, owned by the Egyptian Armed Forces, are also for sale. Asharq Business has said the features of a comprehensive program to sell stakes in Egyptian state companies were beginning to unfold.

The news website identified companies expected to be listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange during the year, including Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals, Egyptian Drilling, Middle East Oil Refinery, Engineering For The Petroleum And Process, Alexandria Mineral Oils, Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives, Assiut Oil Refining. The list included about 12 companies in the petroleum sector.

Local newspapers also quoted government sources saying Gulf investment funds are interested in buying shares in El-Nasr for Intermediate Chemicals. An Enterprise report has revealed an unprecedented wave of Gulf acquisitions of major companies in Egypt in 2022. It said that mergers and acquisitions deals in Egypt more than doubled in 2022, as the number of completed sales rose to 66, up from 31 in the previous year. Saudi Arabia and the UAE were involved in 40 deals in Egypt in 2022. According to Enterprise, banking and financial services have attracted the most deals, followed by industry and energy.

The influence of Gulf sovereign wealth funds has dramatically expanded in the Egyptian economy, and in addition to depositing ten billion dollars in the Central Bank of Egypt, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the Saudi Public Investment Fund pumped about $3.1 billion to acquire stakes in powerful companies listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange. The Qatar Investment Authority is considering spending $2.5 billion to buy Egyptian government-owned stakes in companies, including Vodafone Egypt. It also deposited one billion dollars with the Central Bank of Egypt as a temporary deposit.