African Markets Represent Lifeline for Egyptian Economy: Masr Capital’s Hassan Soliman

Hassan Soliman, Masr Capital Chairman and Managing Director, affirmed that investing in African markets is the right to develop the national economy.

Soliman added in his interview with ‘Amwal Al Ghad’ that investing in African markets has proven to be successful, because of the many investment opportunities and natural resources.

Egypt has stopped investing directly and indirectly in Africa for the past 60 years, while other countries have injected large investments, such as Israel, which has expanded its investments in Ethiopia, Eretria and South Sudan.

Israel, among other countries, has benefited from investing in these countries as they are low-income labor markets and are rich in natural resources. Israel imported agricultural machinery from Europe to Africa, which has helped in fostering boost its presence in these markets, he noted.

Israeli investments in the poultry and livestock sectors in Nile Basin countries are worth billions dollars, as the country highly values these markets, he remarked. On the contrary, Egypt has tended to import meat from Australia and Ireland in the last period.

Soliman stressed that Egypt must focus in the upcoming period on African countries by investing in emerging stock markets in Ethiopia, Senegal, Eretria and Sudan.

As the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Afro-Asian Organization for Project Evaluation, Arbitration and Training, Soliman affirmed his interest in communicating with African countries through bringing into effect cooperation protocols with non-governmental organizations in these countries.

Soliman said Masr Capital is evaluating a number of important projects such as the Suez Steel Integrated Steel Complex, which has 25 factories on an area of one million square meters, in order to receive financing from Egyptian banks. Masr Capital is also evaluating Pepsi Cola Egypt to determine its realizable value, which might range between EGP 300 million and EGP 400 million.

The company plans to finalize procedures for establishing the third-largest fertilizer factory in the world, with investments of about EGP 1 billion, within the next three months. The infrastructural procedures for the factory have been finalized. The factory is similar to the world’s largest two fertilizer factories, in the USA and Israel.

Soliman also stressed the importance of the real estate projects in El-Tagamu El-Khames (Fifth Settlement), noting that Masr Capital has evaluated the sale of two administrative buildings, subsidiaries of the Lebanon Pipe Company and Al Baraka Bank Egypt, at EGP 380 million.

He added that Masr Capital has restructured 16 companies and is currently restructuring four more.

The company has conducted a feasibility study for the Egyptian Company for Pipes and Cement Products, subsidiary of Chemical Industries Holding Company (CIHC), to make it a strong competitor in the Egyptian market, he added.

Masr Capital is also conducting more studies on the agricultural project in Sudan which is a subsidiary of the Egyptian Company for Poultry, Livestock and Fish Production.

The company has managed auctions with value of worth EGP 2 billion. It has managed the sale of 2 million shares in El Masrya Travel Services, in addition to managing auctions for other companies such Al Tawfeek Co. for Financial Lease, Egypt Capital Holding, Corporate Leasing Company (CorpLease) and Al Barakat Bank Egypt, which plans to sell some of its real estate assets that are currently being valued.

The company has also started to create a marketing plan for some of commercial and administrative properties in Egypt, to meet the needs of a Qatari company which plans to raise a securities investment portfolio of EGP 1.25 billion in Egypt, by acquiring commercial and administrative properties and then furnishing and renting them out. Soliman expects this to be executed by the end of December 2012.

Masr Capital’s plans mainly focus on managing and developing assets in the upcoming period, as it target splans to raise the portfolio of assets under management to EGP 5 billion by 2013, Soliman revealed.

Soliman said the company aims at launching three new branches in Senegal, Qatar and Bahrain in 2013, as part of the company’s expansion strategy to increase the number of branches to 15 by 2015.


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