losing grip

Egypt: Beyond the anticipated military company IPOs

By The Africa Report

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Posted on May 31, 2022 14:28

The Egyptian Exchange bell is seen at the stock exchange in Cairo
The Egyptian Exchange bell is seen at the stock exchange in Cairo, Egypt September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Companies owned by Egypt’s military are due to be listed publicly later this year. But is the first-ever IPO listing a sign of the army’s relinquishing control over the economy, or is it simply a way of maximizing profits?

The first-ever initial public offerings (IPOs) of Egyptian military companies may not mean that the government is ready to cede control over their assets, says Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center.

“Sisi’s overall strategy of monetizing state assets while retaining ownership and control of them means that the IPOs may be a mechanism for attracting private capital without allowing meaningful control or governance by private investors,” says Sayigh, a Beirut-based expert on the Egyptian armed forces’ economic role, referring to previous offerings of minority stakes in government-owned companies.

“In this case, the IPOs may actually offer the military new ways of muscling in on markets and increase its appetite,” he says.

Nevertheless, military company IPOs will mean that financial reporting will be made public. “[This] could pave the way for wider opening up of

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