A general view of Cairo. Egypt wants to attract more FDI while also negotiating a new loan with the IMF. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Egypt aims to raise as much as $6 billion before the middle of next year by selling stakes in state-owned businesses, the country’s planning minister said, as it seeks to shore up an economy hit by Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The programme may include share offerings to the public or block sales to strategic investors, and will be supported by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Hala Elsaid said in an interview in New York. She didn’t identify which companies might be sold.

Egypt wants to attract more foreign direct investment - while also negotiating a new loan with the International Monetary Fund - after taking a hit from soaring food and fuel import bills as a result of the war in Ukraine. It saw $22 billion in outflows from the local debt market since March.

The country is promising a wider overhaul that will see the state play a smaller role in the economy, in line with IMF policy advice.

Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ and a unit of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund have already pumped roughly $3 billion into Egypt, snapping up government-held stakes in prominent companies under deals that were facilitated by the Egyptian sovereign fund.

More such agreements are expected, possibly including the landmark sale of stakes in some firms held by Egypt’s army.

‘Add value’

Additional sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf and elsewhere will be approached, and there’s a plan for a roadshow in Europe and Asia at the end of October to “showcase the investment opportunities in Egypt”, said Elsaid, who’s also chairwoman of Egypt’s fund.

“Sovereign wealth funds are usually long-term investors, they add value in terms of expertise, finance and technology,” she said.

Egypt has set up a “pre-IPO” fund, which aims to restructure some state-owned assets and prepare them for stake sales.

The target is to transfer assets worth as much as $3 billion to that fund within three to six weeks, among them a power plant co-built by Siemens AG, said Elsaid.