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Thursday, 17 September 2020

Covid is slowing the pace of foreign investment in Egypt

Covid is slowing the pace of foreign direct investment in Egypt, two announcements yesterday suggest. Kuwait’s Arzan Financial Group has postponed its Egypt expansion plans — including setting up an investment bank — until 2022, citing covid, Al Mal report. Mohamed Asran, the CEO of Arzan’s Egypt-based brokerage firm, says the firm was planning to begin financial advisory, asset management, and private equity practices as early as this year — but “[liquidity] in financial institutions, including those that are Arab, came under pressure during the pandemic,” Asran said. Businesses in the GCC “are facing a liquidity crunch,” Pharos Holding said in a recent research note commenting on the potential acquisition of Vodafone Egypt by Saudi Telecom Company, another transaction that has been impacted by the pandemic.

Ikea has pushed the planned inauguration of its full-scale store in Sixth of October City to March 2021, the Swedish furniture retailer said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. The permanent branch was due to open its doors this year, but seems to have been delayed due to the pandemic, which Ikea Egypt manager Thomas Sirguey said had made 2020 a “difficult” year. Ikea inaugurated a smaller branch in Mall of Arabia late last year to serve customers until its permanent, 20k-sqm branch opens its doors under a long-term lease agreement signed with Al Futtaim Misr for Retail in 2018. In 2019, the company signed a EGP 395 mn loan with Emirates NBD Egypt to finance the plan.

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