Court orders 3 privatized companies returned to state

An Egyptian court on Wednesday ordered three privatized companies returned to state ownership as employees celebrated the ruling. 

Dozens of labor leaders and workers gathered in front of the courthouse on Morad Street in Giza early Wednesday in anticipation of the ruling, which they called historic. 

El-Nasr Boilers and Pressure Vessels Manufacturing was sold in 1994, Tanta Flax & Oil in 2005, and Misr Shebin El Kom Spinning and Weaving in 2006 as part of a privatization program to sell public companies to Egyptian and foreign investors.

The case filed against the El-Nasr sale said the company was sold to foreign investors and an Egyptian partner for US$17 million, which observers say represented only a quarter of the company's value.

The Tanta company was sold to a Saudi investor for LE84 million, but its value was estimated at LE211 million in 1996, nearly a decade before the sale. 

An Indian investor purchased the Shebin El Kom company for LE174 million, of which he has paid LE90 million so far.

Sayyed Hamed, secretary general of the Spinning and Weaving Syndicate, said the ruling favors workers who were arbitrarily fired after the companies were sold and will be able to get their jobs back, according to state news agency MENA. 

Workers from the three companies had staged several protests to demand their jobs back.


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