Qalaa Holdings finalises EGP 4.5bn debt resolution with four major banks

Fatma Salah
4 Min Read

Qalaa Holdings has negotiated a debt resolution with a consortium of four banks: Banque du Caire, Banque Misr, Arab African International Bank, and Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait. The settlement, valued at EGP 4.5bn, involves approximately 17.68% of Qalaa Holdings’ equity in TAQA Arabia, a subsidiary, along with a 60,000 square meter land parcel in Tabein. The agreement also includes adjustments for stock price volatility beyond the predetermined terms.

The company has stated that it maintains an option to buy back its shares in TAQA Arabia within a five-year timeframe, while the banks are entitled to sell the shares back to Qalaa Holdings in the sixth year.

In addition, Qalaa Holdings, along with its associated entities, has entered into a debt restructuring and settlement pact with the Arab International Bank. Under this arrangement, the company and its affiliates are set to repay close to $184m in staggered payments up until 2033. The interest on these payments will be pegged to the SOFR rate, backed by a suite of robust guarantees.

Insiders with intimate knowledge of the company’s financial dealings have disclosed to the stock market that Qalaa Holdings is nearing the completion of settlement arrangements with various creditors. This is in exchange for shares in the National Printing Company as part of the anticipated public offering this quarter, mirroring the repurchase rights terms set for five years.

The overhaul of the printing and packaging division under Qalaa Holdings commenced in the previous year’s third quarter with the divestiture of its stake in Allmed Medical Care, a Union Board property, marking the start of the sector’s debt resolution.

Ahmed Heikal, the visionary founder and chairperson of Qalaa Holdings, remarked that these agreements signify a leap forward in the firm’s strategic growth and expansion blueprint, now that all subsidiaries are profitable and maintain a sound debt profile.

He further elaborated that the company is transitioning into a new era focused on debt reduction and strategic asset management within its portfolio. This shift is underscored by a marked uptick in operational cash flow, which has been instrumental in debt reduction and facilitating additional investments in its businesses, amounting to roughly EGP 5bn over the last three years.

Heikal noted a downtrend in the debt-to-operational cash flow ratio, emphasizing that the recent settlements with the lending banks represent a critical milestone, albeit not the concluding step.

Heikal said: “The current rescheduling and subsequent measures are pivotal in streamlining the financial framework for our shareholders and analysts, ultimately bolstering the share value—a key management goal in the upcoming phase. Our immediate dedication is to our shareholders, mindful of the nation’s challenging times, where every capable individual is called upon to contribute effectively to progress, particularly in industry, agriculture, and energy sectors.”

Looking ahead, Qalaa Holdings is poised to restructure its stakes in certain subsidiaries. This phase is expected to span an extended period, during which the company will also embark on a new chapter of acquisitions via its subsidiaries. This will be complemented by strategic, low-risk investments aimed at exports, characterized by significant domestic value addition and synergy with existing operations.

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