Egyptians push to buy subsidized sugar from a government truck after a sugar shortage in retail stores across the country in Cairo, Egypt, October 14, 2016. (Reuters)
Egyptian authorities raided and confiscated the sugar supply of the Edita Company on Thursday and Saturday, causing production to halt amid a market-shortage and rapid price hikes, the company's chairman said on Sunday.
The authorities seized around 2,000 tonnes of sugar that would have been used over the next three weeks in the company's production of pastries, cakes and snacks, Chairman Hani Berzi told news host Lamees El-Hadidy on CBC TV channel.
The company is facing an investigation by the authorities into the legality of its sources of its suga, Berzi added.
Berzi said Edita has been purchasing its sugar supply from a credible supplier for the past four years.
"What crime have we committed in storing sugar — a main raw ingredient in our production?" Berzi stated.
The seized sugar is currently being held in Edita's storage in Beni Sueif, under security protection.
Edita is the largest food company listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange. Both Edita and Juhayna, the second largest company in the stock exchange's food sector, plunged during Monday's midday trading by 4.85 percent (EGP 7.79 per share) and 8.50 percent (EGP 3.70 per share) respectively.
The country has been facing a severe sugar shortage due to an acute dollar shortage, resulting in a price hike in unsubsidised sugar that has reached EGP 9-10 per kilogramme, up from EGP 4.5-6 in August.