CAIRO: Hours after the former head of Talaat Mostafa Group (TMG) was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death, TMG vice president and spokesman Jihad Sawaftah sought Thursday to reassure investors and clients that the case has had no effect on the company’s operations.
Sawaftah said that TMG’s corporate structure prevents “the absence of one individual from affecting its activity.
“TMG is a huge economic entity with a capital of over LE 20 billion and a staff of over 63,000, employed directly or indirectly, Sawaftah told reporters during a press conference held at TMG’s Cairo headquarters.
“The executive board is made up of individuals with extensive experience both in Egypt and abroad, and the company has 13 vice presidents with experience in the academic, scientific and business fields.
“It’s illogical that one individual could harm TMG. This group is based on a corporate system, a system based on agreed-on and documented strategies, on administrative systems and world-class work procedures. It uses the most cutting-edge technology.
Sawaftah said that more than 50,000 housing units have been sold by TMG and that more than 125,000 residents occupy TMG-built housing.
He dismissed suggestions that the murder trial might have affected TMG’s performance, saying that its activity on the stock exchange had been “excellent and that shares had gone up by 63 percent since January 2009.
TMG shares ended 14.5 percent lower on Thursday following the verdict, driving the stock market index lower.
The vice president said that the contracts on “only 400 housing units have been canceled, and dismissed this figure as “insignificant.
He attributed the cancellations to the effects of the global economic crisis, rather than the murder trial.
Sawaftah invited journalists to visit TMG construction sites and “see the progress of TMG activities.
“I invite anyone who has an interest in Madinaty or in TMG to visit our sites and observe the extent of progress. TMG management is fully aware of its responsibilities and duties towards its shareholders in terms of increasing their investments and ensuring profits and liquidity.
“It is aware of its responsibilities towards clients in terms of upholding its duties to deliver units on time – if not earlier than the time agreed on.
Acknowledging “the mark that Hisham Talaat Moustafa left on TMG before his arrest, Sawaftah said that the effect of his absence would nonetheless be “limited.
“Hisham Talaat Moustafa resigned nine months ago. Since that time TMG s administration has focused on clear work strategies which boil down to honoring its obligations with commitment. And that s what happened in reality.
“Hisham s presence was of course extremely beneficial to the company but this does not and will not mean that the company will not continue without him. The effect of the case has been felt at a purely personal level amongst TMG staff because of the friendship of some of TMG s employees with Hisham.
“Why do I say that the effect [of the case] will be limited? Where are the company s strength points? We are supported with more than LE 28 billion in sales. We have 50 million meters square worth of land and investments outside Egypt …We have two projects in Saudi Arabia which will be announced shortly. The company is entering a crisis – whether global or not – in a very strong position.
Established 37 years ago by Talaat Mostafa, TMG is one of Egypt s biggest real estate developers.