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Wed 16 Mar 2016 01:47 PM

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Kuwait's Agility eyes deals from privatisation of Kuwait airport, ports

CEO also says company will be one of the first to enter Iranian logistics market after lifting of sanctions

Kuwait's Agility eyes deals from privatisation of Kuwait airport, ports

Kuwait's Agility, the Gulf's largest logistics company, will be interested in bidding for the management of Kuwait's airport and ports if plans to privatise them go ahead, the chief executive Tarek Sultan said on Wednesday.

Kuwait's Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh said on Monday that the government would seek to privatise assets including airports, ports and some facilities of national oil giant Kuwait Petroleum Corp.

The government is looking at ways to free up state finances and reform the economy in order to help narrow a budget deficit caused by low oil prices.

Among the required reforms were "real rationalising of spending and real privatisation," Sultan told reporters at a news conference.

Kuwait's cabinet has approved economic reforms including the introduction of a 10 percent tax on corporate profits, Saleh said on Monday.

Sultan said Kuwait's private sector had no problem with the introduction of taxes if the government pushed ahead with reforms.

Agility is already present in around 100 countries and plans further expansion within the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Gulf and Africa.

Sultan said Agility would be one of the first companies to enter the Iranian market after international sanctions imposed on the country were partially lifted earlier this year. He didn't elaborate.

He also said Egypt was a promising market if difficulties surrounding foreign investors' ability to transfer money abroad could be overcome.

Egypt has faced an acute foreign currency shortage since a 2011 uprising drove away tourists and foreign investors, key earners of hard currency. On Monday it devalued the Egyptian pound and said it would shift to a more flexible exchange rate, in a bid to stabilise the currency.

Agility operates a major distribution and logistics centre in Egypt, according to the company's website.

Sultan also said Agility was in the final stages of securing $800 million in financing from regional and foreign banks, but he did not provide names.

The funds would go towards investing in a shopping mall in Abu Dhabi being developed in partnership with Kuwait's National Real Estate Company, he said.

United Projects for Aviation Services Company, a subsidiary of Agility, last year signed an agreement to invest up to $225 million in the Reem Mall project.

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