NEW YORK (Reuters) – Egypt will close the sale of a group of seven hotels, several of them historic, by the end of the year, the head of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt Ayman Soliman said on Thursday.
“It has been awarded. So we’re now in partnership moving towards a close before the end of the year, closing with the winning investors,” Soliman said in an interview at the Reuters NEXT conference in New York.
“They’re going to turn around those trophy assets in Egypt, and with a view of taking those public as well.”
The hotels, among Egypt’s grandest, are the Cataract in Aswan, the Winter in Luxor, the Mena House in Cairo and the Cecil in Alexandria, all built in the late 19th or early 20th centuries.
Soliman did not give the name of the buyer. In June, Qatar was reported to be in talks over their purchase, but the following month Egypt’s planning minister announced Egypt had awarded a $700 million stake in the hotels company to a consortium that included the local Talaat Mostafa Group Holding Co.
Soliman also said in the interview he believed Egypt’s inflation had peaked and the weakening of its devalued currency was good for controlling the costs of production.
The state statistics agency CAPMAS is scheduled to release October inflation figures on Saturday. Headline inflation accelerated to an all-time high of 38.0% in September.
In the interview, Soliman also said there had been good uptake of assets in Egypt’s hospitality and tourism sector, one of the areas in which the government is trying to boost private sector participation and raise revenue by selling state holdings.
“We thrive on creating those partnerships with the private sector to take leadership and transform state-owned enterprises,” he said.
(Reporting by Dan Burns; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Daniel Wallis)