Egypt to sell minority stake in state payments firm e-finance

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian state-controlled payments firm e-finance for Digital and Financial Investments said on Sunday it would offer up to 14.5% of its capital in an initial public offering in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Founded in 2005, e-finance said in a statement it is the sole entity authorised to operate the government’s financial network, including processing and settling payment and collection transactions.

The sale is one of several planned for this year.

In May, Egypt sold a 51% stake in state-owned Arab Investment Bank (AIB) to privately owned EFG Hermes, its first sale of a majority bank stake since 2006.

The government announced in 2018 it intended to sell minority stakes in nearly two dozen companies, but those sales have been delayed repeatedly by market downturns and more recently by the coronavirus pandemic.

e-finance said it would float 177.8 million new shares on the stock exchange and 80 million shares owned by current shareholders, to both institutional and retail investors.

Among its shareholders are three state-owned banks: National Investment Bank, with 63.64%, and the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr, each with 9.09%, according to e-finance’s 2019 annual report.

Egyptian Banks Company, a payments operator led by the central bank, and a firm called Egyptian Company for Investment Projects each own another 9.09%.

e-finance’s revenue rose to 1.23 billion Egyptian pounds ($78 million) in 2020 and 904 million pounds in the first half of 2021, a 2018-20 compound annual growth rate of 30%, it said.

The sale is subject to market conditions and regulatory approvals, the statement added.

($1 = 15.7300 Egyptian pounds)

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