EBRD invests US$ 24.3 million in Egyptian white goods manufacturer

By Nibal Zgheib

The EBRD is launching its first project with an Egyptian owned company and is now actively providing support to the four reforming economies in the Middle East and North Africa.
The EBRD is lending 150 million Egyptian pounds (US$ 24.3 million) to Universal Metallurgical Company S.A.E. to finance the completion of a plant that will increase the company’s production of washing machines.
The investment will support the transformation of this sector of the Egyptian economy, providing for full-scale manufacturing in a market where domestic appliances have up to now been either imported or only assembled locally.

The EBRD funds will help introduce modern technology to the industry, raising skill levels across the sector and supporting local research and development work. The modernisation of Universal Metallurgical’s facilities will improve production efficiency and raise the company’s competitiveness.
In an economy where unemployment remains a crucial issue, the EBRD investment will also make a contribution to providing employment opportunities. At least 300 jobs will be created to operate the new facility in the first year of the investment.

“This is an important step for the EBRD, for Egypt and for the region. We are a reliable long-term partner for private companies. We look forward to standing by Egypt as it reforms towards a more prosperous future” said EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti.

“Universal Group is keen not only to borrow from the EBRD but also to enhance its competencies through regular follow-up and advice from EBRD experts during the loan life. I believe that a deal with an outstanding international lender like the EBRD will send a positive signal to both business and capital markets that there is adequate confidence in Universal’s performance and prospects. It is also a landmark in the history of the Universal Group which can now step towards the international business stage” said Universal Metallurgical Co. CEO, Eng. Ibrahem Kotb.

By 2015, the EBRD expects to be investing up to €2.5 billion per year in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.

The Bank extended its reach to these countries in response to calls for support from the international community, and from the countries themselves, following political changes in the region.