Qataris offer to buy Omar Effendi

Legal sources have said they are mediating between a Qatari group and the Egyptian government over the sale of Omar Effendi, an historic Egyptian chain store.

Safwan al-Salmi, vice president of the state-owned National Company for Construction, said his company – which owns a 10 percent share in the chain – is examining the possibility of privatizing the store's management without putting the entire store up for sale.

Salmi added that the company has decided not to privatize Omar Effendi following a court ruling that voided its sale to Saudi investor Jameel al-Qanbeet a few days ago.

Salmi added that his company has not received any information about negotiations between the Qatari group and the government with regards to the sale of Omar Effendi. Everyone is awaiting the response of the Saudi investor to the court ruling, he added.

Meanwhile, legal sources have said that Prime Minister Essam Sharaf negotiated the fate of Omar Effendi with Qataris, who reiterated their offer to purchase it during his Gulf tour.

The same sources added that a delegation from the Qatari group will visit Cairo next week to make an official offer for the company to the Egyptian government.

Sources close to the Saudi investor said that as soon as he is notified of the court ruling, he will challenge it before the administrative judiciary to prevent the ruling from being implemented.

If his appeal is turned down, the Saudi investor will resort to international arbitration, the sources added.

Khaled Ali, head of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, said the administrative court ruling is enforceable and Qanbeet would not be able to challenge it.

He claimed that if the investor resorts to international arbitration, Egypt would likely win, since Omar Effendi’s sale was marred by suspicions of corruption and profiteering, he added.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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