New Suez Canal shares to be offered at EGX within days: Min.
Suez Canal construction - YOUM7/Mohamed Awad

CAIRO: Shares and bonds in the “new” Suez Canal project will be offered to investors within days, Minister of Planning Ashraf al-Araby said in a Monday statement.

Araby stated that Egypt’s Cabinet is now holding a flurry of intensive meetings to discuss “all suggested means” to fund the “new” Suez Canal project.

The idea of funding the project through a public offering was discussed during President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s Monday meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and other Cabinet ministers, including the ministers of industry, electricity, international cooperation, agriculture and investment, Aswat Masriya website reported Monday.

“Twenty percent of the project funding will be allocated through shares and bonds,” Araby added.

Speaking on the possibility of offering shares for ordinary Egyptians, Araby told Al-Masry Al-Youm Monday that the government may offer ordinary and preferred shares to the public, but declined to give more details.

Sisi announced during the inauguration ceremony of the Suez Canal Axis Development Project on Aug. 5 his plans to build a new 72-kilometer Suez Canal addition at a total cost of $4 billion alongside the existing Suez Canal. He said the project will be entirely financed by Egyptians through shares priced at 100 EGP ($14) for ordinary citizens, $100 for Egyptians abroad and 10 EGP for students.

The Suez Canal Project is meant to add an extra waterway to the Suez Canal in an attempt to increase the number of ships passing through it each day.  Egypt’s revenues from the existing Suez Canal totaled $442.4 million in November 2013 alone, according to the Suez Canal Authority.

Sisi called on authorities to speed the development of the project at its announcement, saying, “We are in a race with time, we want to build our country, and God willing we will finish the project next year.” Studies, however, have indicated the project should take 3-5 years.

“We are working to get out of a cycle of poverty with work, perseverance, effort and struggle in order to achieve what we want for the country,” Sisi added.

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