It appears that Safwan Thabet, founder of Juhayna Food Industries, has handed over the reigns to his son Seif el-Din Thabet to lead the current team at Juhayna.
Seif el-Din Thabet, CEO of the company, told Daily News Egypt that Egypt’s economy needs a different and balanced vision with new solutions to recover on the fiscal and monetary policy level.
Egypt’s economy, which is heavily dependent on gas and energy imports, suffers a severe shortage of foreign exchange due to the decrease in tourist numbers and foreign investors following the 25 January Revolution.
Thabet added that Egypt suffers a US dollar shortage and inflation of its value against the Egyptian pound, which has led to an increase in production costs by about 20% during the past period. Thus, he explained, his company is currently considering increasing the prices of all products by about 20%.
Juhayna was founded in 1983. It produces dairy products and juice, and exports to markets in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.
Before March 2015, the US dollar price stood at EGP8.5 in the parallel market and EGP7.73 on the official market. Today, it has officially jumped to EGP 11 on the parallel market and EGP 8.88 on the official market.
Thabet joined Juhayna in 2004, coming from the German dairy company Müller. He became a member of the board of directors in 2006 before being assigned to deputy chief executive officer in February 2016.
During the signing of a contract on Monday with Fawry (Electronic Payment Network) to facilitate the collection operations of Juhayna’s customers, Thabet appeared as the company’s solo spokesperson. He discussed its plans and his opinion on the elements of the food industry, while his father settled to speak about public affairs and shake hands with the media persons, journalists, and leaders of the company.
According to Thabet, Juhayna intends to pump new investments worth EGP 15m a year into developing their sales system and converting it into an electronic payment system, in collaboration with Fawry.
Thabet also said that the electronic payment system will increase the speed of cash deposits into the company’s accounts in banks, which will save time for salespeople and reduce the risk of theft.
The company achieved a sales increase of about 20% during Ramadan 2016 compared to Ramadan 2015, less than the optimistic forecast of 33% in May, said Thabet.
Juhayna had sales estimated at EGP 674m in Ramadan 2015.
The company is discussing entering markets in Tanzania and Kenya along with a number of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) countries to replace the company’s presence in markets that were affected by the revolutions or war, like Libya, Syria, and Iraq, he added.
Thabet, who is also deputy head of the dairy sector at the Chamber of Food Industries (CFI), recognises that the food industry has competitive elements based on the food bill value in Egypt, which is currently estimated at EGP 350bn and is expected to jump to EGP 500bn in 2020.
He asked the government to protect the domestic industry by charging protection fees to legalise the imports of subsidies that have local alternatives. He also asked the government to increase exports in order to raise the country’s foreign exchange resources.
He said that his company does not accept the pricing of the land in the Oases region set by the Government Services Authority. Oases land is where the company built its dairy farm with investments of about EGP 600m. The authority priced the land at about EGP 12,000 per acre, compared to EGP 500 per acre for squatters.
He continued that they will conduct a round of discussions with the government to reduce the value of EGP 12,000 per acre as it is unacceptable and will cost the company losses, asking the government to compensate them for the value of the facilities and services incurred by the company.