Tunisia Live - Yassine Chihi - Yesterday, July 26th, during a press conference held at the headquarters of the Tunisian stock market, it was announced that hundreds of assets previously owned by members of the Ben Ali regime will be sold to the public.
Attendees of the event included the Minster of Economy Ridha Saidi, the Deputy Minister of Finance Slim Besbes, and Habib Karaouli, the CEO of the Banque d’affaire de La Tunisie.
According to Besbes, 550 buildings, 83 horses, 300 companies, 223 cars, 48 ships and yachts, and 367 bank accounts are among the items that have been confiscated by the Tunisian state since the ouster of Ben Ali. The Committee for the Management of Confiscated Assets is responsible for the sale and organization of these assets.
Of the 300 confiscated companies, six are ready to be sold by the end of 2012, these include Carthage Cement, Kia, the International School of Carthage, the Banque de Tunisie, Tunisiana, and ENNAKL. Ownership of these companies will be divided into shares, which will be put on the market in the next few days.
Ridha Saidi stated that these corporations will be sold to the public because currently, “the state is not ready to manage competitive sectors.”
Tunisiana, the country’s largest telecommunications operator, will be the first asset offered to the public, with a call for tenders starting on July 27. This sale is an attractive for investors because the Tunisian state will be selling 25% of the company, which, as of March, 2012, constitutes 54.4% of the country’s mobile network market share. According to Besbes, some of the investment may come from large international monetary corporations, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The second company to be offered with a call for tenders will be ENNAKL, the official importer of European brand cars, such as Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Seatwhich. However, ENNAKL’s shares will only be open to a limited market, as it has been specified that purchasers must have previous experience in the automobile industry and be able to adapt to the strategic choices of the main provider, the German-based company Volkswagen.
The Tunisian state now owns 59% of ENNAKL, and bidding will start on July 30.
The sale of assets previously owned by Ben Ali and his extended family, is the first of its kind, and marks the beginning of the long process of making the private holdings of the former regime public.