March 1, 2019 / 9:11 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-Egypt's Eastern Co private share offer oversubscribed - state media

(Adds background and details)

CAIRO, March 1 (Reuters) - A private offer for shares in Egypt’s top cigarette maker Eastern Company SAE was covered 1.8 times at 17 Egyptian pounds ($0.9737) per share, the state news agency MENA said on Friday, citing the minister of public enterprise.

The sale of up to 4.5 percent of the company marks the delayed kick-off of a plan to partially privatise five state companies, which was previously expected to be completed by the end of 2018 but which was derailed by global market volatility.

A further 18 sales were expected in coming years, with Egypt needing to raise funds for the state and boost the private sector as the country implements austerity measures backed by the International Monetary Fund and tries to contain inflation and debt.

The placement price represents a three percent premium to Eastern Company’s closing price on Thursday, MENA said.

A source familiar with the matter had told Reuters on Thursday that Eastern Company is looking to sell 95 percent of the shares on offer in a private sale and the remainder at a public offer that begins on Sunday.

$1 = 17.4600 Egyptian pounds Reporting by Omar Fahmy Writing by Nadine Awadalla Editing by Edmund Blair and Kirsten Donovan

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