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Egypt to offer shares in new cement plant on stock market - president

CAIRO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Egypt plans to offer shares on the stock market of a newly opened $1.1 billion cement plant, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Wednesday.

Sisi was speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate the plant, Egypt’s biggest with an annual capacity of 13 million tonnes, and a nearby ornamental stone production complex in Beni Suef province south of Cairo.

“We have taken a decision to put these companies to the bourse,” Sisi said in a speech at the ceremony broadcast live on state television.

“I tell Egyptians that we had taken this decision so you will participate with the state in projects that will generate a revenue for you. These companies, we will offer a percentage of their shares,” he added, without saying what the percentage would be or when the offering would be made.

The Beni Suef cement plant has six production lines and is owned by El Arish Cement Co, which also has another two production lines in North Sinai. El Arish is owned by the National Service Projects Organisation (NSPO), which in turn is owned by the military.

Sisi said the Beni Suef projects are expected to generate up to 13,000 jobs.

The projects in Beni Suef are among several the military has launched across the country since Sisi came to power in an election after the armed forces ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in 2013.

Some critics complain that such projects represent unfair competition to the private sector, but government officials argue they are a temporary fix to help the economy get back on track after years of instability that drove investors away. (Reporting by Omar Fahmy Writing by Sami Aboudi Editing by Patrick Werr and David Holmes)

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