By: Islam Zayid
The government has recently entered into negotiations with investors in order to settle pending commercial and legal disputes, while bringing other cases in front of international arbitration centres.
Maged Shabita, legal advisor to the finance minister, stated that he has recently met with representatives from nine international law firms and legal consulting agencies, the most prominent of which include Baker & McKenzie and El-Ebrashi, representing foreign companies in eight separate international arbitration suits.
The government, represented by the investment and finance ministries, recently began negotiations with Kuwait’s Al-Kharafi National Group over price increases for gas distribution to fertiliser companies in Alexandria. The company had previously brought the case before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Other companies included in negotiations were the Saudi Arabian Hokair Group, which sought to discuss conflicting price estimates for land owned by the company set to be utilised as part of the Mall of Arabia project located in 6th of October City.
Shabita stated that Investment Minister Yehia Hamed was responsible for administering and running negotiations aimed at settling disputes with investors from both Hokair Group and Al-Kharafi Group. Disputes between the government and the Emirati company Damac were also recently settled in negotiations.
Shabita met with representatives from a number of international accounting agencies, including KPMG, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and Ernst & Young, in order to seek solutions to problems faced by investors operating within Egypt, and discover ways to settle disputes amicably, without the need to resort to international arbitration centres.
Following the 2011 revolution, a number of Egyptian courts issued verdicts nullifying the privatisation of companies operating within the country which have been purchased by foreign investors, such as Omar Effendi and Victory Steam Blowers. This had raised concerns among foreign investors and had added to reasons that disrupted inflows of investments into the country.
The government has sought to settle pending disputes with the Egypt-Kuwait Holding Company regarding the latter’s ownership of 26,000 acres of land in the Al-Ayyat region of Giza governorate. The value and worth of the land has not yet been determined by either party.
Translated from AlBorsa Newspaper