CAIRO: With paid-up capital of $150 million (LE 900 million), the Egyptian Hydrocarbon Company (EHC) was established Sunday at the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) as the first private sector industrial project to be implemented in Egypt at international prices with no subsidies.
Total investments of the project include LE 2.7 billion, about $454 million.
The project, which is the first major industrial deal to close in Egypt after the January 25 Revolution, is just a prelude for more ventures, said Basil El-Baz, CEO and chairman of Carbon Holdings
“This is a mild initial project, soon with time, we will see more investments to come,” El-Baz told Daily News Egypt.
“My company is determined to invest in the Egyptian market because we trust that the Egyptian economy will be able to overcome the current circumstances and gradually regain its activity,” El-Baz said.
EHC will implement the Egyptian-Kuwaiti-Saudi investment project to produce ammonium nitrate and nitric acid in the North West Suez Gulf Zone.
By creating 3,000 job opportunities during the establishment phase and about 500 permanent jobs during operation, business partners are happy to contribute to investment in a post-Mubarak Egypt.
“This project shows the confidence that we have in Egypt, not only in the economy of Egypt, but the path that the country will take after this revolution,” said El-Baz.
A select group of investors and representatives of the Egyptian and Arab business and banking community attended the signing ceremony, including officials from Tri Ocean Energy, Anam Group, Saudi Economic and Development Company (SEDCO), and Egypt Kuwait Holding.
“We’ve been investing in Egypt since 1968,” Moataz Al Alfi, managing director of Egypt Kuwait Holding told DNE. “Since then, we’ve never given up on Egypt and we don’t intend to, nor do we be plan on slowing down.”
Al Alfi added that the company is waiting for opportune moments to enter into more ventures.
A number of local Egyptian banks have helped finance the venture, including Ahli United Bank, Banque Misr, and the Commercial International Bank.
El-Baz noted that the project is the first to acquire loans from Egyptian banks after the revolution.
Osama Saleh, GAFI’s chairman who was also present at the signing ceremony to give an opening speech, stressed the importance of the industrial project and the value that it will add to the Egyptian economy.
Despite some economic losses in some of Egypt’s sectors after the January 25 Revolution, the Egyptian economy has the capabilities and investment opportunities that enable it to quickly recover and overcome these losses, he said.
Saleh added that the government is “keen to introduce comprehensive economic reforms and improve the business and investment environment so that the Egyptian economy can realize the hoped-for annual growth rates.”
EHC’s petrochemical complex is one of many projects announced after the “glorious” January 25 Revolution.
Among these investments was the Swedish appliance company, Electrolux that acquired a 52 percent stake in Egypt’s Olympic Group at a cost of $350 million.
While Turkey’s Kucukcalik KCG Group said they will increase their investments in Egypt by about $400 million through three major projects in textiles, generation of power from natural gas, and the operation of a coalmine in Al Maghar Mountain in Sinai.
Moreover, in Early April, Glaxo SmithKline Consumer Health Care announced they would be investing an additional $500 million in the Egyptian healthcare sector.