Egypt lures investors with new cement licence locations

Egypt lures investors with new cement licence locations
Published: 20 September 2010

Egypt’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA) said on Sunday it has changed the location for a reissued cement licence to help attract investor interest, after the licence was scrapped twice, Reuters reports.

The authority had re-opened bidding for two cement licences previously held by El Wadi Cement and North Sinai Cement after the firms had permits withdrawn in November over start-up delays and financing shortfalls, but closed the bid without interest from investors.

Last week, the IDA offered one of those licences to Helwan Cement , majority owned by Egypt’s biggest listed cement maker, Suez Cement group , to relocate some of its 1.1Mt of production capacity.

"Investors are interested in areas other than El Wadi and North Sinai," Amr Assal, head of the IDA told Reuters. "This time, some people have proposed other places like Suez, Beni Suef, al-Minya, and Sohag, which are attractive areas."

Egypt’s south is an attractive location for a number of cement firms including Misr Cement Qena , Misr Beni Suef , and Assiut Cement, the local affiliate of Cemex .

The reissued licences were initially granted in October 2007, among six greenfield cement factory licences and two more to expand production.

Assal said the 2007 bidders would be allowed to apply in a bid to start in October, but did not specify the exact location of the licence.

Suez Cement, itself a unit of Italy’s Italcementi , told Reuters in March it aimed to relocate some of its production lines away from its Cairo suburb factories to a new, energy-efficient site east of the capital.