OCI and BESIX announce $810m Egyptian museum deal

50/50 joint venture museum to be located overlooking Grand Pyramids

The Egyptian Grand Museum will be located overlooking the country's world famous Grand Pyramids
The Egyptian Grand Museum will be located overlooking the country's world famous Grand Pyramids

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Egypt’s largest listed company, Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), has announced a joint venture $810m deal with the BESIX Group for work on the Egyptian Grand Museum.

The museum will be located on the Cairo-Alexandria highway overlooking Egypt’s Grand Pyramids.

The joint venture has been awarded the project on a turnkey basis and the final contract signature is expected within the next few days.

“The construction group is proud to be part of one of Egypt’s future landmark projects,” said OCI Construction Group Managing Director Osama Bishai.

“The Egyptian Grand Museum will be the first iconic building in Egypt’s modern history and will create approximately 5,000 jobs during the course of its construction.

“It will also be a great addition to Egypt’s tourism industry.”

The project, expected to be complete by July 2015, is to be funded to the tune of 65% by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The client is the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), which is responsible for the conservation, protection and regulation of all antiquities and archaeological excavations in Egypt.

A joint venture between Hill International and EHAF Consulting Engineers will provide project management services during the design and construction of the project.

The Grand Museum will showcase approximately 100,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts in the main exhibition hall.

It will also include a conference and learning centre to educate visitors on Ancient Egyptian history and will house an advanced security and communication system to ensure the safety of the artifacts.

Meanwhile, OCI has also announced it is to redeem bonds worth $274m early.

The move is to come as part of a “debt refinancing package”, the company has announced, and will see it sell dollars to repay bonds in local currency.

Subsequently, the move also strengthened the weakened Egyptian pound 0.1% - the highest in more than a week.

The Egyptian pound has declined 3.6% this year after a 44% slump in the country’s foreign currency reserves.

"By raising offshore debt and settling local debt, our balance sheet will benefit from interest expense savings related to the large interest differential between the Egyptian pound and the US dollar," an OCI statement confirmed.

In late 2010, OCI sold a similar sum of $274m worth of five-year bonds with an interest rate of 11.75%.

OCI is one of Egypt’s largest corporations employing more than 84,000 people in 35 countries around the globe.

The OCI Fertiliser Group owns and operates nitrogen fertiliser plants in Egypt, the Netherlands, the United States and Algeria and has an international distribution platform across the Americas and Asia.


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