Saudi Al Sharif signs EGP 1 bln loan for Egypt’s iconic Shepheard Hotel renovation project

Saudi engineering, procurement, and construction company Al Sharif Group Holding (ASG) has on Tuesday signed a long-term financing agreement of up to around 978.2 million Egyptian pounds ($62.6 million) with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE).

The loan will help finance AlSharif’s project to renovate one of Egypt’s most iconic hotels and that was one of the world’s most well-known establishments, Shepheard Hotel. It will finance the majority of the project’s total investment of around 1.4 billion pounds.

The agreement will see NBE, the country’s biggest state lender, offering loan at an interest rate of 8 percent and a repayment period up to 3 years and half.

The loan facility is a testament to Egypt’s determination to boost economy and encourage more Arab and foreign investments despite the ongoing challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, ASG’s chief executive Al Sharif Nawaf said in a company press release.

The Saudi firm signed in March 2020 a deal worth 1.4 billion pounds with the state-run Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH) to renovate, furnish, and operate the opulent historic Shepheard Hotel.

Shepheard Hotel was once famed for its opulence and grandeur and the most visible symbol of Egypt’s colonial past. It had hosted many notable guests such as the Aga Khan, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Field Marshall Herbert Kichener, T.E. Laurence, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Shepheard Hotel
Shepheard Hotel’s main dining hall – circa 1920 -1933

The hotel was used as a base of operations in The Race Colonization series(1960s) by Harry Turtledove, as a location in Agatha Christie’s Crooked House (1949) and is mentioned in Anthony Trollope’s short-story, An Unprotected Female at the Pyramids (1861). It was also featured regularly in Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series.

The lobby of Shepheard Hotel

It was even portrayed in the 1934 British film The Camels are Coming and was setting for a number of scenes in the 1996 film The English Patient.