Raya Plans IPO of Call Center Unit for Expansion Outside Egypt

  • Company seeks to sell up to 30% of Raya Contact Center
  • Move aimed at hedging against Egypt pound devaluation

Egyptian telecommunications and information technology group Raya Holding Co. plans to sell a stake in its call centers business this year in an initial public offering, using proceeds to fund expansion overseas and take more revenues in foreign currencies.

The Cairo-based company aims to offer as much as 30 percent of Raya Contact Center, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Medhat Khalil said in an interview on Wednesday. The group is seeking to boost operations in the United Arab Emirates and Poland while considering a new base in Morocco to serve French-speaking markets, he said.

"We want to hedge against country risk and the availability of foreign currency," Khalil said.

Raya is looking for new sources of foreign-currency revenue to offset the effect of a domestic dollar shortage on its main local trading business, which imports information-technology products, mobiles and electrical appliances. The central bank allowed the currency to weaken almost 13 percent in March, the biggest devaluation in 13 years, in order to make the economy more internationally competitive and address dwindling reserves.

Khalil said Raya aims to generate half of its revenue from markets outside Egypt within three years. Eighty percent of the call center unit’s business lies abroad, he said. The group will also set up an export-focused food manufacturing plant on a 200,000 square-meter site in Ain Sokhna near the Suez Canal this year.

The company will invest around 100 million pounds ($11 million) in expansions during 2016, said Khalil.

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