DUBAI Feb 24 Saudi Arabia's Aujan Coca-Cola
Beverages Company plans to spend $100 million building a
fruit-juice factory in Egypt over the next few years, a senior
executive said on Monday, despite the challeges facing there
after three years of political turmoil.
Meshal Alkadeeb, vice president of strategy and business
development, said the money would cover buying the land and
setting up the factory in Egypt, which Aujun sees as a North
Africa hub, mainly for Algeria and Libya.
"The plant will be commissioned between 2016 and 2017. We
just started working on it," Alkadeeb said.
Egypt's army-backed government is trying to attract foreign
money back into the country and create jobs to ease social
discontent as it manages the biggest Arab nation's difficult
transition to elections this year.
Having spent more than $100 million in the food and beverage
sector across the Middle East, mainly in Dubai and Dammam, and
having agreed to buy a majority stake in Lebanon's National
Beverage Company, Aujun - half-owned by Coca-Cola Co -
sees the time as ripe, Alkadeeb said.
"Right now, the biggest challenge for investing in Egypt
would be infrastructure. They've realised this and they working
seriously on addressing the gaps," said Alkadeeb.
"We're talking about utilities. Water is very important and
you need to make sure you get electricity for a food factory.
Packaging and wrapping material in our industry is also a
challenge as well as the facilities that allow you to export and
re-export," he said, noting that getting raw materials into
Egypt or even sourcing it from inside is a big challenge also.
An Egyptian cabinet source told Reuters on Monday that a
draft investment law contains provisions to prevent third
parties from challenging contracts made between the government
and an investor, a clause is intended to reassure investors
unnerved by previous legal challenges to such deals.