The Supreme Administrative Court affirmed on August 1 a 2011 ruling that nullified the privatisation of Omar Effendi, the biggest Egyptian middle-class department store, according to state news agency MENA.
State-run TV reported that the Supreme Administrative Court, headed by Judge Hamdy Yassin, rejected an appeal by Omar Effendi’s former owner, Gamil Al-Kanbit, the Saudi investor and owner of Anwal United, the National Bank of Egypt and Audi Bank, against the State Council’s Administrative Court.
The 2011 lawsuit was filed by former parliament member, Hamdy Al-Fakharany, who claimed the sale of the retail store was invalid.
The department store was privatised in 2006 for EGP 504m and its sale was met with criticism; some economists said it was sold for half of its actual value assessment, reported state-run TV.
Prior to its privatisation, the iconic store faced mounting debts and suffered major losses which reflected its deteriorating quality and in 2006 the state sold 90% of the retail store to Al-Kanbit.
Then-investment minister Mahmoud Mohieldin said the state intended to keep 10% of the shares “to make sure that the investor fulfils all the clauses of the contract.”
Following the court’s verdict, all 82 branches of Omar Effendi, founded in 1856 under the name Orosdi Back and nationalised in 1957, will be restored to public ownership.