(180120) -- GIZA (EGYPT), Jan. 20, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Visitors ride camels near the Pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, on Jan. 20, 2018. Egypt aims to sell stakes in six to eight state-owned companies over the next 12 months, the finance minister said. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
INTERNATIONAL - Egypt aims to sell stakes in six to eight state-owned companies over the next 12 months, the finance minister said, as the government looks to revamp a bloated public sector, boost growth and spur business activity. 

The move, part of a programme to sell 20 to 30percent of shares in selected public sector companies on the Egyptian exchange, is part of a broader push to revive an economy battered in the wake of the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Officials have said the programme’s focus is on companies in the oil, gas, banking and industrial sectors.

The government expects to sell a stake in the state-owned oil company Enppi by June, Finance Minister Amr El-Garhy said on Thursday. “We are looking into further sales as part of a medium-term plan." He added that the government was not considering sales to a strategic investor.

The minister declined to say how much the government expected to raise from the sales, but officials in the past have said the Enppi sale could bring in $150million (R1.82billion). Also planned is a stake sale in Banque du Caire, which could take place by the end of the year.

That offering could bring in 7.2bn Egyptian pounds ($4.92bn), according to the government’s budget.

Initial public offerings on the Egyptian bourse stalled between 2011 and 2014 in the wake of the uprising against Mubarak, but found traction after the November 2016 decision to float the Egyptian pound as officials looked to end a dollar shortage that had crippled business activity.

The lifting of the currency controls helped secure a $12bn International Monetary Fund loan, but also halved the pound’s value to the dollar and sent inflation soaring to over 30percent. 

- BLOOMBERG