February 28, 2020 / 11:40 AM / a month ago

Angola's Sonangol to begin selling assets in April

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Angolan state oil company Sonangol will begin in April to sell its stakes in several private firms, chair Sebastiao Gaspar Martin said, as part of a government bid to privatise key state assets including parts of Sonangol itself by 2022.

The eleven companies include local bank Banco BAI as well as Sonamet, Sonatip and Sonadit dedicated to metals, maritime services and the maintenance of offshore companies respectively.

Martins, quoted by state news agency Angop late on Thursday, said it was too early to put a value on the stakes.

Angola, Africa’s second biggest oil exporter, is struggling with declining oil output and economic doldrums which have galvanized authorities to streamline a bloated public sector and focus Sonangol, its largest company, on its core business.

Describing Sonangol as an “octopus”, the country’s minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, Diamantino Azevedo, has said it would need to shed stakes in everything from hotels to aviation around the world before a 30% share sale in 2022.

An anti-corruption drive has gathered steam since 2017, when Joao Lourenco ended former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ nearly 40-year grip on politics.

Angola has named billionaire former first daughter Isabel dos Santos as a suspect over alleged mismanagement and misappropriation of funds while she was chairwoman of Sonangol in 2016-2017. Dos Santos has denied any corruption. (Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by Mark Potter)

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