Egypt: Supreme Administrative Court suspends privatisation appeal

Egypt: Supreme Administrative Court suspends privatisation appeal
Published: 20 January 2015


The Supreme Administrative Court has decided to halt proceedings looking into the appeal against the privatisation of Egypt-based Beni Suef Cement Company.

The court has ordered that workers are reinstated to the company but has temporarily suspended looking into the privatisation appeal.  The suspension is pending another court decision in a case questioning the constitutionality of a law issued last year, which bans third parties from challenging sales or investment contracts signed between the government and investors.

The law in question stipulates that courts must suspend viewing appeals of contracts, even if the cases were brought to court prior to the issuance of the law.

The law was approved in April by former interim president Adli Mansour and was heavily criticised by the Egyptian Centre for Social and Economic Rights (ECESR) for its issuance. The NGO said the law "wastes the rights of citizens and workers from detecting suspicions of corruption" in contracts.

The 1.5Mta cement plant was sold in 1999 and to a joint venture between Lafarge and Titan group. In 2002, Titan Group acquired the shares owned by Lafarge and has since owned the plant.

In February 2014, an administrative court ruled in favour of the privatisation but ordered reinstating the workers, as stipulated in the sales contract. This court ruling was appealed by both the workers, who want the privatisation to be reversed and by company officials, who do not want to bear the costs of reinstating the workers.