Ivory Coast Plans To Sell Stakes In 15 Companies

Ivory Coast Plans To Sell Stakes In 15 Companies

Ivory Coast plans to sell its stakes in 15 companies, including the national telecoms operator, banks, agribusiness and a gold mine, as part of a privatization drive aimed at easing the public debt load and increasing competition.

The world’s biggest cocoa producer, plans to sell as much as $67 million worth of shares, according to a document seen by Bloomberg  and confirmed as authentic by Bruno Kone, a government spokesman.

“The process of privatization should be completed by the first half of 2014,” Kone said by phone yesterday from Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital. “Things will be done on a case-by-case basis.”

The government will name more companies later, he said, as the West African nation resumes plans to reduce the amount of shares it owns in companies by 25 percent, according to the document.

The stock will be sold on the Abidjan-based regional exchange known as the Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres, the document said. Local investors and the company employees will have priority in buying the stock, it said.

The exchange, which trades securities from eight West African nations, is set for its first listings since 2010 with two Senegalese companies Money Express and Cie. Sahelienne d’Instrustries Matforce, Chairman Gabriel Fal said in an interview last week.

The bourse expects a total of 10 listings in 2014, Bloomberg reported.