Morocco is planning to sell a 40 per cent stake in state-owned port operator Marsa Maroc via an initial public offering (IPO) on the Casablanca stock exchange, bourse regulator AMMC said on Monday.
Marsa Maroc was established in 2006 and manages terminals at nine Moroccan ports and provides logistic services. The port operator has said it is seeking funds for expansion as it plans to bid for two other terminals at Casablanca Port and is looking for opportunities elsewhere in North and West Africa.
The offering would be the first IPO this year in Morocco and the first ever for a privatisation. It could help revive Casablanca’s stock market, which has suffered from the knock-on effects of the euro zone crisis and a lack of foreign investors.
Morocco’s stock market was downgraded to “frontier” status by index provider MSCI in 2013, due to a lack of liquidity.
The Finance ministry has hired Moroccan bank Attijariwafa bank for the offering expected from June 20 to June 30 involving 40 per cent ofMarsa’s shares, the regulator’s statement said.
AMMC said it had approved the issue from which the government is expected to raise between 1.9 billion dirhams and 1.94 billion dirhams($200.8 million). The company will sell 29.36 million shares at 65 dirhams each.
Marsa Maroc had more than 2,000 employees and annual revenue of 2.17 billion dirhams ($224.13 million) in 2015, company data showed.
The government launched a tender seeking advisors for selling part of Marsa Maroc in 2011 but then dropped the idea without any explanation.