Egypt’s El Wadi Cement will not be reissued a cement licence after the country’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA) said it wanted to open up the region’s booming construction sector to further competition.
Egypt, which reopened the cement licence’s bidding process in May, has blocked El Wadi and other cement firms with existing operations from bidding in an effort to boost competition and bring down prices, it said.
"The licence will not be returned. We have already announced the bid. Their land has been withdrawn and other bidders are now on the table," Amr Assal, the IDA’s head told Reuters. "It’s too late."
In February, the IDA cancelled El Wadi’s and North Sinai Cement’s production licences over start-up delays and financing shortfalls in November and gave it two months to appeal to a licencing committee but neither met the conditions set.
El Wadi Cement secured a EUR150m loan from French bank Credit Agricole, in a bid to regain the production licence, reported al-Mal newspaper.
El Wadi filed a court case in early June seeking to regain the licence or be granted financial compensation up to E£250m.
A court decision is unlikely before winning bids are announced. The deadline for submitting a bid is July 1 and a decision is expected by the end of the month.
"Of course, the judicial system can make any decision it pleases. If it makes one in two or ten years, we will all be obliged to follow the ruling," Assal said.
This is the second loan El Wadi Cement said it secured. In February it added a US$328m loan from Liechtenstein bank LLB.