2001 News Story

Finance minister comments on privatization measure

Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, who also chairs the General Investment Fund (GIF), commented today on authorization by the Council of Ministers for him to discuss the sale of certain companies. He explained that the Saudi government had contributed through the Fund 50 percent of the capital of seven joint venture companies set up with Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Pakistan and Bangladesh, working in the areas of industry, agriculture and real estate. All seven had achieved positive financial outcome over the past years and some of them had distributed dividends to shareholders; they are, he said, good for sale. He pointed out that there are already contacts with a number of the countries concerning the possibility of selling the companies, and that there is a desire for such a measure in light of the general trend to give a greater role to the private sector.