Egypt's state-owned Misr Insurance may launch an initial public offering of its life unit by July 2010, if conditions permit, but the state would keep a majority interest, the Insurance Holding Company chairman said on Monday.

If the market condition permits and all the requirements have been fulfilled, it could be the end of the fiscal year (2009/10 for an IPO) or the beginning of the new (fiscal) year, Mahmoud Abdallah told Reuters, clarifying earlier remarks suggesting a sale could take place by end-2009.

Egypt's financial year starts on July 1.

We are going through an IPO, when the capital is needed and when the market is ready, Abdallah said. Under no circumstances will we have a strategic investor.

Asked how much would be offered in the IPO, he said: That all depends on the market appetite, but we have no intention at this stage to lose control.

He said the first move would be to split up Misr Insurance in line with Law 10, passed last year, that states that life insurance should be separated from nonlife operations before the end of fiscal 2009/10. (Writing by Edmund Blair, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)