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Egypt Considering Public Offering For 8 State-Owned Oil Firms

The Egyptian government is purportedly examining listing eight state-owned oil companies on the country’s stock exchange, according to Oil Minister Tarek El Molla on Tuesday.

"We sent the names of eight petroleum companies to the Ministry of Investment last week to be studied, paving the way to issuing some of their shares on the bourse or increasing their capital," El Molla admitted in a phone interview with Reuters.

"Among the names we are studying are Middle East Oil Refinery (MIDOR) and the Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Company, and we are considering a capital increase for companies Alexandria Mineral Oils Co., MIDOR, and Misr Fertilizers Production Company," he added.

El Molla did not detail any of the other companies or the possible date and value of the initial public offerings (IPOs) on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX). A subsequent statement from the presidency clarified and noted that the IPOs would occur prior to the end of the current fiscal year.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) envoys allegedly sought to list state-run firms on the EGX during talks with Egypt officials seeking a US$12 billion, three-year loan. According to Daily News Egypt, sources close to the discussions noted the IMF made the request arguing that the move would help to increase the depth of the Egyptian capital market. This in turn would allow for the application of the capital gains tax as a resource to increase much-needed revenues.

The government last January announced that shares in “successful” state-owned companies and banks will be listed on the EGX such as the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr and Arab Contractors. The move was viewed with trepidation by critics worried over a possible wave of privatization for the first time since 2005. Proponents of the plan believe it necessary to attract great investment and prop up the EGX that lost US$5.6 billion in the first nineteen days of 2016.

The EGX on Tuesday rose by 0.6 percent to 7973 points reportedly amid the strengthening of Egypt’s currency on the black market based on news of the possible IMF loan.

By Erwin Cifuentes for Oilprice.com

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