Three anonymous sources have indicated that the Egyptian government has decided to halt the sale of a portion of state-owned Telecom Egypt (ETEL.CA) due to unfavorable market conditions. The government had previously been considering the sale of an additional stake in the company, with sources telling Reuters that a 10% stake was being targeted. Telecom Egypt announced on March 7 that the government was exploring the sale of a stake in the company, leading to a drop in the company’s shares.

As Egypt faces severe economic pressures and a foreign currency shortage, the government has announced ambitious plans to sell off stakes in public enterprises and boost public sector investment. Despite these plans, the government has been forced to halt the sale of a portion of Telecom Egypt due to market conditions, which were deemed unfavorable. The government currently holds 80% of the company.

Earlier this month, Telecom Egypt shares fell sharply from a high of 27.8 Egyptian pounds following news of the planned sale. However, on Tuesday, shares rose 4.55% to close at 22.99 Egyptian pounds, according to Eikon data. While government officials have declined to comment on the matter, Telecom Egypt officials were not immediately available for comment either.

The decision to suspend the sale of Telecom Egypt shares comes as a surprise, given the government’s recent focus on selling off stakes in public enterprises. However, the unfavorable market conditions have forced the government to put its plans on hold. It remains to be seen whether the government will revisit the sale at a later date or whether it will focus on other initiatives to boost the country’s economy.