March 5, 2018 / 6:47 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Egypt discussing setting up sovereign wealth fund to manage state companies

(Adds detail of pre-IPO sales, background)

DUBAI, March 5 (Reuters) - Egypt is discussing the setting up of a sovereign wealth fund to manage state companies as it plans to list them on the stock exchange, the minister for public enterprise, Khaled Badawi, said on Monday.

The idea of the fund is being discussed internally and is in its early stages, he told a conference in Dubai.

Egypt is looking to offer shares in eight to 10 state companies on the stock exchange over the next 18 months, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy told Reuters in January, as part of a drive to attract foreign investors.

Badawi told reporters that Egypt is looking to raise $2 billion to $3 billion from the sale of stakes in state companies ahead of their formal listings.

The timeline for such deals is more than a year, he added.

He said the plans are being reviewed by the cabinet and a law will need to be introduced first for such sales.

The moves come as investor interest in Egypt has improved in recent months after years of political turmoil, encouraged by the North African country’s economic reforms, a major gas find, streamlined business rules and a devalued currency.

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh and Katie Paul; Writing by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Kim Coghill

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