July 17, 2018 / 4:50 PM / in 5 months

Egypt names first five state companies to float shares under privatisation scheme

CAIRO, July 17 (Reuters) - Egypt on Tuesday announced the names of the first five state companies that will offer shares this year as part of a plan to boost public finances through minority offerings on the Cairo exchange.

The companies are Alexandria Mineral Oils Company, Eastern Tobacco, Alexandria Container and Cargo Handling, Abou Kir Fertilizers, and Heliopolis Housing, a cabinet statement said.

The state owns swathes of Egypt’s economy, including three of its largest banks, much of its oil industry as well as its real estate sector.

Egypt in late-2016 kicked off an ambitious three-year $12 billion IMF loan programme tied to tough economic reforms that have included deep subsidy cuts and tax hikes.

The IMF has urged Cairo to reduce the role of its public sector in order to clear room in the economy for private sector growth.

The cabinet statement did not specify the exact timing of the share offerings or the size of the stakes to be offered, but the government has said previously that the stakes would range from 15-30 percent and begin in the coming months.

Egypt earlier this year said it plans to offer stakes in a total of 23 state companies to raise 80 billion Egyptian pounds ($4.5 billion) over the next two-and-a-half years.

The list includes companies already traded on the exchange, such as the five named on Tuesday, as well as others that will hold an initial public offering. ($1 = 17.8500 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Moemen Saeed Abdelkhalek Writing by Eric Knecht Editing by Alison Williams)

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