Egypt has announced its plans to sell stakes in 32 state-owned companies, including three banks and two military-owned companies, by March 2024.

“Our object is to float at least 25 percent of these companies during the first six months,” Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening.

He added that these companies could either have IPOs or sell major stakes to strategic investors.

The Arab African International Bank, Banque du Caire, and The United Bank of Egypt are the three banks on the government’s list.

Egypt has been contemplating the stake sales of its national assets for a long time. However, its privatization plans have been hindered by economic downturns, the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

The list also includes the National Co. for Natural Water in Siwa (SAFI) and the National Company for Petroleum - both owned by the military-affiliated National Service Projects Organization.

The list covers 18 different economic sectors where the government is seeking to reduce its footprint and engage the private sector.

“We may add more companies to the list [to be floated] during the same time frame,” Madbouly said.

The move aims at increasing the revenues of the cash-strapped state and meet one of the key conditions of a recent $ 3-billion IMF loan. 

In recent years, the Egyptian economy has proven quite vulnerable to external shocks, namely the global pandemic and the Russian war on Ukraine, which resulted in massive capital outflows and significant drops in tourism revenues.

The Egyptian pound has fallen by nearly 50% since last March and annual headline inflation has climbed above 20%.

Egypt’s external financing needs for the financial years 2023 and 2024 are expected to reach at least $19 billion and $22.5 billion, respectively, according to a Fitch recent report. The report excluded bilateral debt obligations of $8 billion in 2023 and $6 billion in 2024-which are deposits from Gulf sovereigns most likely to be rolled over.

According to the document released on Wednesday, the government’s plan also targets the below companies:

Misr Technology Services (MTS)

El-Nasr Housing and Development

Maadi Company for Real Estate Development

Misr Concrete Development Co

ElMostakbal Urban Development

Helwan Fertilizers

Egyptian Polypropylene and Polypropylene (EPP)

El-Nasr Mining Co

The Egyptian Ethylene & Derivatives Company

Damietta Container & Cargo Handling Co

The Egyptian Drilling Company

Sinai Manganese Company

Egyptian Linear Alkyl Benzene (ELAB)

The Egyptian Ferrous Alloys

Canal Company for Mooring and Lights

Al-Saleheya for Investment and Development Company

Port Said Container & Cargo Handling Co. (PSCCH)

Misr Life Insurance

Misr Insurance

Gabal El-Zeit Wind Power Plant

Zafarana Wind Power Plant

Chemical Industries Development Company

Beni Suef Power Plant

Paints and Chemicals Industries (PACHIN)

Misr Pharma

Alamal Alsharif Palstics

(Reporting by Noha El Hennawy; Editing by Seban Scaria)