Govt considers IPO for planned Al-Dabaa nuclear reactor

The government is currently considering the launch of an initial public offering (IPO) to help cover the expected costs of Egypt’s first nuclear reactor, to be built in the coastal Al-Dabaa region, a government source told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The Ministry of Finance has been tasked with searching for funding options for the project, the estimated cost of which stands at US$4 billion, the same source said.

A meeting on the issue, to be headed by Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali and attended by the ministers of international cooperation and economic development, is scheduled for later this week. Official sources say a final decision regarding project funding would be taken within the coming two months.

The IPO is expected to be launched sometime this year, the sources added.

The same sources also pointed to an "inclination" to invite multiple funding sources, since no single local funding source would be able to cover the expected cost of the project. Likely funding sources include banks, foreign donors and local government financing.

According to these sources, a publicity campaign will be launched to explain different aspects and benefits of the nuclear project and to raise public interest in the IPO. The same sources said that the IPO proposal would keep political pressure from foreign loaners at bay, pointing out that the terms and conditions applied by the World Bank for such loans were "impossible to meet."

In such cases, they added, negotiations were usually held with the US–the World Bank's primary financier–that would oblige Egypt to purchase the reactor from a US firm.

The sources explained that investment costs for the project would be covered for a 5-year period from the launch of operations, going on to note that the project's finance committee would soon be submitting a report on potential funding options.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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