Egypt mulls taking back land from Palm Hills
Cairo, July 6, 2011
The Egyptian Housing Ministry plans to withdraw an unused 210 feddan (217.9 acre) plot of land from Egypt's second-biggest listed developer Palm Hills, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Palm Hills, whose shares have slumped 61 percent this year, more than those of any other firm on the benchmark index, has been hamstrung by the country's political upheaval since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power.
The firm is facing two court cases contesting the legality of two of its plots and it has said it would return at least two other plots of land to help manage cash flows.
The land was awarded to Palm Hills after a closed-envelope bid in May 2007 at 812 Egyptian pounds ($136.3) per metre to build a mixed-use compound, Al-Mal newspaper said, citing an official source.
The newspaper said the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), the housing ministry body assigned with awarding land in the outskirts of Cairo to developers, was reviewing the status of construction on major plots of land.
The official said it was unlikely Palm Hills would be given another extension to start building on the plot of land, because it has been unused so far. Palm Hills was not immediately available for comment.
Palm Hills shares jumped 7.3 percent on Tuesday after a court ruled that its chairman, one of several businessmen who were facing accusations of graft, was innocent of charges of corruption in a state land sale. - Reuters