State-owned Eastern Company is number one producer of the cigarettes and tobacco in heavy-smoking country. In an attempt to fix the budget government is selling a stake in it – 4.5 percents – to any who will show the interest. Advisor of the sale, EFG Hermes, is has valuated the stake at 2 billions EGP.
It should be noted that Egyptian economy is dominated by the state companies. Critical food and tobacco producers are state owned, as well as transportation and public services, banking system and the majority of mining corporations are under the state control.
As debts are mounting and the IMF reforms are putting the pressure on the population’s wealth ARE is trying to sell the stakes in state companies. It is closely resembling 90’s reform when the sole producer of alcohol in country was sold to Heineken.
Egyptian tobacco was most wanted and fashionable product at the beginning of twentieth century. It’s popularity was so high that it was widely faked. For example “Camel” brand was clearly an attempt to dupe the customers into assumption that it was Egyptian and not American brand. Only after WWII the fashion changed towards milder Virginia blend.