Al-Ahram chairman suggests IPO for 25 percent of organisation's assets

Ahram Online , Tuesday 26 Dec 2017

Al-Ahram Chairman ِAbdel-Mohsen Salama (Al-Ahram)
Al-Ahram Chairman ِAbdel-Mohsen Salama (Al-Ahram)

Al-Ahram Chairman Abdel-Mohsen Salama said on Tuesday that issuing an initial public offering (IPO) of 25 percent of the assets owned by the news organisation could help alleviate its financial woes in the future.

Salama made the comments at Al-Ahram 2025 conference, which marked the 142nd anniversary of Al-Ahram institution.

While speaking about a long-term plan to reform Al-Ahram, the chairman said that the IPO is an “idea for the future.”

Salama said that the development plan for Al-Ahram aims at reducing its deficit by 80 percent in 2020.

Salama highlighted that Al-Ahram’s debts amount to EGP 1.6 billion ($89.5 billion), which he said is negligible compared to the EGP 100 billion worth of assets owned by the institution.

The reform plan includes developments in the advertising sector as well as financial and administrative reforms.

Salama, who is also head of Egypt’s press syndicate, said that the Al-Ahram-owned Al-Ahram Company for Investment has different subsidiaries under its umbrella in medicine, tourism, and other fields.

Al-Ahram has "assets that are worth more than EGP 100 billion [$5.6 billion]. If I offer [an IPO of] only 25 percent, I will generate EGP 25 billion [$1.4 billion]," Salama said.

The chairman stressed that Al-Ahram's main domain will always be journalism, with investments only helping the organisation develop this sector.

There has never been an IPO of any state-run Egyptian media organisation to date.

National Press Organisation head Karam Gabr said during the conference that “no assets owned by national newspapers will be sold unless it is a neglected asset, and the revenues will be used in another investment.”

“Journalism is great, but it will not be able to cover all the expenses of [state press] institutions.”

Gabr also ruled out the possibility of the national press being privatised in Egypt.

“We will not allow anyone to exterminate our patriotic press... or [allow the national press] to be privatised,” he said.

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