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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Egyptian stock exchange chairman says up to 7 IPOs in 2018

Bourse Chairman Mohamed Farid didn't specify companies in Bloomberg TV interview

Egypt stock exchange expects 7  IPOs in 2018. Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters
Egypt stock exchange expects 7 IPOs in 2018. Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

Egypt's stock exchange said it may have up to seven initial public offerings on the bourse in 2018, which would make the listings the highest since the 2011 revolution as the economy turns a corner and foreign investors return.

Mohamed Farid, the chairman of the Egyptian Exchange, told Bloomberg Television that there would be an IPO as soon as this month, another one to follow in April and four or five before the end of the year. Mr Farid didn't specify the names of the companies or which sectors they operate in.

A spokesperson for the Egyptian stock exchange didn't immediately reply to an e-mail from The National seeking confirmation.

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The executive was speaking at a frontiers markets conference on Monday organized by the Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes. Karim Awad, the chief executive of EFG, told The National that he was bullish about the prospects of Egyptian stocks, especially amid expectations that the central bank will continue cutting interest rates. Lower rates will be a boost to businesses because they will be able to borrow more affordably in order to grow their businesses, he said.

Egypt's benchmark stock index rose 21 per cent last year in the aftermath of the devaluation of the Egyptian pound in November 2016 which boosted the attractiveness of the country's assets.

Public offerings are making a comeback in the region following a dry spell over the past couple of years when a slow-down in economic growth forced many companies to shelve plans for IPOs amid concerns of not getting proper valuations for their businesses.

Ibn Sina Pharmaceuticals, a drug distributor, was the last initial public offering in Egypt in November. The company raised 1.56 billion Egyptian pounds and listed on Egyptian stock exchange in December. The company said at the time that it would use the proceeds from the initial public offering to fund expansion.

The GCC saw the listing of eight IPOs in fourth quarter of 2017 raising $2.5 billion, an increase of $2.3b compared to $234 million in the preceding quarter, according to PwC.