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Saudi Arabia plans to privatise seven firms in 1Q

[RIYADH] Saudi Arabia expects to privatize seven companies in the first quarter of 2019, Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al Tuwaijri said, after plans to sell stakes in state assets got off to a slow start.

Mr Tuwaijri said the world's biggest crude exporter would privatize 19 state enterprises in total next year, as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's drive to overhaul the economy and prepare for a time after oil.

"We have identified five sectors," he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia unveiled a major privatization program in 2016. Mr Tuwaijri has previously said the government expected to raise some US$200 billion in the next few years through the sales. However, progress has been slow. A move to privatize flour mills has inched ahead but has yet to be completed. The minister did not say which companies would be first in line.


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