CAIRO: Minister of Investment (MOI) Mahmoud Moheiddin announced Saturday the government plans to settle LE 10 million in remaining public company debt by June, 2008. About LE 2.5 billion of the remaining debt is owed by textile producers, according to MOI.
Public company debt had reached LE 31.5 billion in June, 2004, of which LE 28.5 billion were owed to public banks. In preparation to sell Bank of Alexandria last year, the government paid LE 6.9 billion to settle the debts of 46 public companies to the bank, in what it called the first phase. Another LE 9.2 billion, earned from the sale of the bank, is now being allocated to settle the debts of 54 companies.
Reducing the debt of companies to LE 10 billion will save the government more than LE 1 billion in annual interest payments, Moheiddin said, and benefits more than 152,000 workers as all public companies are required by law to give their workers annual profitshares.
When you lift the debt burden off of a company, you give it more room to breathe, an MOI official told The Daily Star Egypt. A lot of the companies that have had their loans repaid are now recording positive bottom lines because interest alone was putting them in the red year after year.
Competition Commission reports slow progress
CAIRO: Difficulty in obtaining company and market information has hindered the Competition Commission s efforts to prevent monopolistic practices, Commission Head Mona Yassine said Saturday.
Yassine said the commission has been unable to obtain sufficient information on companies operating in the steel and cement sectors to raise disciplinary recommendations to the Council of Ministers.
Speaking at a USAID-sponsored seminar, Yassine said the Competition Commission has received just 10 complaints against companies for alleged monopolistic practices. The steel and cement sectors came under fire in 2006 after sharp price increases but little has been done to reduce the estimated 60-plus percent market share of El Ezz
Steel Rebars in the steel sector or the continuing mergers and acquisitions in the cement sector where Suez Cement controls 30 percent of the market.
Emaar Misr signs Sidi Abdel Rahman land purchase amid growing internal dispute
CAIRO: Emaar Misr finalized its purchase of the Sidi Abdel Rahman land plot for LE 1.2 billion Sunday after the amount was paid in full to the Holding Company for Tourism earlier this month. The company has announced plans for a $10 billion resort, Marasi, with construction due to begin later this year.
The deal signing comes in the midst of a growing dispute between 60 percent shareholder Artoc Group of Egypt and 40 percent shareholder Emaar Properties of the United Arab Emirates. Negotiations between both sides broke down early last week after Artoc refused to reduce or sell its stake in Emaar Misr in favor of Emaar Properties.
According to Al-Masry Al-Youm, the negotiations saw the intervention of senior politicians on the Egyptian side to resolve the dispute but were unable to reach one.
In addition to Marasi, Emaar Misr has begun work on a $4 billion high-end residential development in El Moqattam Plateau, Uptown Cairo. The company opened its sales and marketing office earlier this month for both projects, but it yet to comment officially on the fate of its partnership with Emaar Properties.