Egypt will sell 14 cotton gin lands worth EGP 27 billion ($1.51 billion) after changing their activities to fund the development of the rest of spinning and weaving companies, Egypt's business sector minister Hesham Tawfik said on Monday.
Tawfik explained that the sale of cotton gin lands would be "after changing their activity from industrial to real estate."
The plan to develop the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving includes the repair of old machines in 25 cotton gins, the closure of 14 cotton gins and the import of modern machines for 11 cotton gins after the experimental operation of Fayoum cotton gin, Tawfik said, according to Al Mal daily economic newspaper.
He added that there is a current cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture to develop the system, cultivation and production of cotton as well as allowing the cultivation of 10,000 acres of short cotton in cooperation with the public and private sectors and the Egyptian armed forces, Al Mal said.
Many state-owned textile companies suffer losses due to the lack of equipment development and occasional labor protests.
Egypt tries to improve state-owned companies that suffer losses through restructuring or merging them in addition to the sale of unutilized assets.
The minister added that Egypt would merge some pharmaceutical companies as a part of its plan to target foreign markets.
"We need EGP 750 million to develop the pharmaceutical sector ... we will merge some companies," Tawfik said.
He noted that the Egyptian Iron and Steel Company "has scrap metal worth EGP four to five billion which will be sold to use the proceeds in the development of the company".
Many business sector companies in Egypt suffer from over-employment and poor production. The government owns about 121 companies employing around 214,000 workers in various economic fields.
*A correction was made to this story as the first version mentioned the Egyptian government will sell 11 cotton gin lands while the actual number is 14.