Egypt's Sinai to appeal cancelled licence
Cairo, December 18, 2009
Egypt's North Sinai Cement will appeal a government decision to revoke its licence over start-up delays, and will hold talks with the country's trade minister on the issue, the company has said.
North Sinai Chairman Abdel Hamid Selmy told Reuters his company was days away from securing a 500 million Egyptian pound ($91 million) loan to start operations. The firm was to have built a greenfield cement plant in central Sinai.
'We were surprised by the Industrial Development Authority's decision when we are only days away from the signing of a loan,' Selmy said, calling the move a wrong decision and adding that his firm had planned to invest 1.7 billion pounds in the area.
Egypt scrapped North Sinai's licence on Tuesday over start-up delays, and authority head Amr Assal said the company had not raised the necessary capital in a way that satisfied requirements.
North Sinai said it had found it difficult to raise money for the project due to the global financial crisis.
The company said it plans to meet Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid and Assal to request a reversal of the decision. Egypt's al-Mal newspaper said the talks would take place on Sunday.
Egypt granted six greenfield cement factory licences in late 2007 in a bid to boost production after rising local prices drove the government to impose an export duty in February.
Rachid said in November that cement consumption in Egypt was up about 25 to 30 per cent in 2009 and production was topping 50 million tonnes.-Reuters