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Business Highlights

Kuwaitis lead establishment of LE 1 billion north Africa private equity firm CAIRO: Kuwait-based KIPCO Asset Management Company (KAMCO) announced Monday the launch of a KD 50 million (LE 992.4 million) private equity company to invest in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The company, North African Holdings (NAH), brings together strategic investors including KAMCO, …


Kuwaitis lead establishment of LE 1 billion north Africa private equity firm

CAIRO: Kuwait-based KIPCO Asset Management Company (KAMCO) announced Monday the launch of a KD 50 million (LE 992.4 million) private equity company to invest in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

The company, North African Holdings (NAH), brings together strategic investors including KAMCO, the Kuwaiti government s public institution for social security, Zummoroda Investment for Asset Management and UAE s Al-Nawaras Financial Investment Company.

In a phone interview with The Daily Star Egypt, NAH chief executive officer, Emad Al-Saleh, said no particular amount has been allocated to Egypt, but the company sees opportunity in the real estate, logistics and transportation sectors. He said the company would also consider investing in government-promoted public-private partnerships to provide social services if the opportunities prove profitable.

We like these sectors because we feel there s a great opportunity for growth, said Al-Saleh. We are looking to provide growth capital and expertise to take companies to the next stage.

The company s board brings together several prominent political figures including former Kuwaiti ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah Al-Bisharah, as chairman, and former Jordanian Prime Minister Abdul Karim Al-Kabariti as vice chairman.

NAH will look to invest in any private equity venture, start-up company, listed securities or any other form of deal it believes will create returns for shareholders and investors, Al-Beshara said in a statement. What makes me extremely confident this new company will be very successful is that the timing is ideal, the team we have in place has all the experience we need and the business environment in north Africa has never been better.

Al-Saleh declined to specify more about the company s investment plans beyond the mention of an opportunity in the media sector in north Africa and the hotel business in Libya. He said the company is bound by non-disclosure agreements that prevent its officials from discussing project details at this time.

NAH s potential investments will add to the influx of Gulf money that has come into the country in the past six months. The most prominent deals have included the establishment of an Egyptian-Gulf $1 billion holding company to invest in the transportation sector; UAE s Etisalat winning the third mobile license for $2.9 billion; Emaar s acquisition of Sidi Abdel Rahman land for $1 billion for construction of a $10 billion resort in addition to a $4 billion residential area in Cairo; and Saudi Arabia s Anwal finalizing the deal to purchase retailer Omar Effendi for $100 million.

Eight of 12 cement producers abide by government price cap

CAIRO: Minister of Foreign Trade and Industry (MFTI) Rachid Mohamed Rachid said Tuesday eight of the country s 12 cement producers have lowered their ex-factory price to the ministry s limit of LE 300 per ton.

Three of the non-compliant companies have reduced their prices to LE 320 to LE 330 per ton, according to MFTI.

The government intervened in late August after local factory prices reached as high as LE 390 in the first quarter of this year before stabilizing around LE 350 to LE 360 in the third quarter.

Speaking to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Rachid denied the ministry is considering punishing non-compliant companies by implementing export fees.

Sector analysts point out that the government has little legal leverage to control cement prices in a free market after the privatization of all cement companies but the National Cement Company. Still, providing producers with the lowest energy and labor prices in the region gives the government regulation power.

The government has made favorable conditions for local cement producers, which have helped keep high profit margins for companies and local prices below international levels, said one analyst. Government control gives it bargaining weight to cap prices, even if only temporarily, the analyst added.

Topics: FJP

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