The land that was allocated for transferring El-Mex Salines Company’s factory is under the control of the Sednaoui Company, an Indian company, and Bedouins, according to Osama Abdel Aziz, CEO and Managing Director of El-Mex.
Abdel Aziz said that the company’s crisis is due to a decision issued by the governor of Port Said to move the company’s second saline factory to another location in Port Fouad.
Abdel Aziz told Daily News Egypt that the company met with Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman and a suitable alternative venue for the company was decided, giving the company enough time to transfer its equipment, machines and workers. However, the company, to date, has not received the alternative land, even though the company has been in its current location for 135 years.
The delay will force the company to lose its revenues, as it is one of the most important national companies for mineral resources, which violates law No. 198/2014 on mineral wealth, he commented.
Abdel Aziz added that the decision to transfer the Port Said saline factory was taken to expand the East Port Said extension, although the company serves 22 million citizens in the Suez Canal and Upper Egypt regions by providing iodised salt in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Abdel Aziz explained that the local councils of Port Said and Port Fouad previously decided to compensate the company with land for implementing new investment projects. The cubic metre cost at the time was EGP 100, but has now reached EGP 100,000, and the company has not receive the land so far.
“The company’s product feeds about 90% of the chemicals, petroleum and petrochemical industries, and less than 10% of it provides salt production for food use. The company also exports its production abroad including Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon,” said Abdel Aziz.
“Despite the decrease in Egyptian exports, the company’s exports to these countries increased, reaching EGP 50m in fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015, in addition to providing the country with hard currency.”
The company revenues are estimated at EGP 166m, and the delay in transferring the company’s saline factory is causing losses estimated at EGP 46m, which are considered revenues from the Port Said saline factory. Further, there is $20m worth of layoffs and compensations for workers, most of which are compensations to contracting companies, according to the CEO.
Abdel Aziz noted that the Alexandria governorate contract with the company has not been renewed since 2005 and has led foreign investors to withhold investing opportunities in the company’s salt waste and fertiliser industry.
Abdel Aziz revealed that, in 2000, the Port Said governorate allocated land to the company’s main saline factory on an area of one 1.3m sqm, under the pretext of investing in that land, but the land is empty with no projects so far.
The Ministry of Housing, represented by the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), has allocated alternative land on an area of 11.3 sqkm for the company, to be paid for in instalments over 10 years.
Nevertheless, the decision was not implemented, and the same occurred with a decision by former prime minister Hisham Qandil to transfer the saline factory to the East Port Said extension.