Suez Cement working to limit impact of Egypt’s dollar shortage

Suez Cement, a unit of Italy’s Italcimenti SpA, is working to minimize the impact of Egypt’s dollar shortage on its operations and has no plans to “withdraw” from the country, Managing Director Bruno Carre said.

“We are doing what we can to finance our operations locally and to work with local suppliers while getting extended credit facilities from our international suppliers and our group,” Carre told Bloomberg News. “Our key priority is to maintain our operations and to minimize the outflow of dollars to support authorities addressing the foreign-currency shortage.”

Egypt has been facing a hard currency crunch that has hurt economic growth and forced the central bank to help make currency available to struggling companies. Italcimenti said this week that it was unable to repatriate 50 million euros from Egypt, and that it faced difficulties paying foreign suppliers. Operations, however, have not been interrupted.

“The foreign currency shortage is currently not our main priority as Suez Cement production is made locally and we import only energy and machinery,” Carre said about the five factories the company operates in Egypt.

Italcementi is planning to increase its investments in Egypt and plans to spend 700 million Egyptian pounds ($89 million) to shift two of its plants to coal from natural gas in 2017. The company may consider “other channels” for its regional investments if the foreign-currency crunch in Egypt persists, Carre said earlier this week.

– Bloomberg