Egypt to hire 2 banks as advisers to sell state-owned United Bank

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CAIRO, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said Thursday that the CBE chose two investment banks as advisers to handle the selling of the state-owned United Bank.

"The United Bank is currently owned by the CBE and it is being restructured in preparation for sale, as the CBE is not allowed to maintain ownership of any banks," CBE Governor Tarek Amer told a press conference.

Amer explained that the names of the two investment banks to handle the share offer will be announced after the approval of the Egyptian authorities, which he expects to come within a week.

The CBE's intention to sell shares of the United Bank was officially revealed in March 2016 as part of the country's banking reforms.

In April, Amer told Egypt's official MENA news agency that the United Bank will be sold to an American investment fund which he didn't name.

With regards to selling shares of another state-owned bank, Bank du Caire, the CBE governor said that it was agreed to offer only from 30 to 40 percent of its capital shares for sale.

On the other hand, Amer told reporters on Thursday that Egyptian officials are currently discussing possible further cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding structural reforms.

He pointed out that his country has implemented fiscal and monitoring reforms and is now discussing if the IMF can help with structural reforms.

Supported by a 12-billion-dollar loan from the IMF, Egypt started a three-year austerity-based economic reform program in November 2016, including the implementation of local currency devaluation, fuel and energy subsidy cuts and a value-added tax.

Despite consequent price hikes, the reform program achieved positive results that were reflected on the country's growth rate, which hit 5.6 percent during the 2018-19 fiscal year that ended in late June, according to the Egyptian finance minister. Enditem

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