Egypt's Arab Contractors suspends $4 mn in Libyan projects, recalls workers

Bassem Abo Alabass, Monday 4 Aug 2014

Outbreak of violence in neighbouring Libya causes leading construction firm to pull out nearly 40 employees and halt projects


Egypt's Arab Contractors Company (AC) has temporarily halted its operations in Libya and recalled its employees there due to security concerns, the firm's chairman said on Monday.

Recent fighting between rival militias forced the closure of Tripoli's international airport, while Islamist groups are battling army special forces in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Libya has suffered chronic insecurity since Muammar Gaddafi's overthrow in 2011, with the new government unable to control militias that helped overthrow the longtime dictator and the growing threat from Islamist groups.

In the past week, many countries have ordered their citizens to leave and, in some cases, have evacuated them.

Thirty-eight AC employees in Libya have returned to Egypt; however, 12 workers have remained in the oil-rich state to watch the company's machinery, Mohamed Mohsen Salah, the head of company, told Ahram Online.

"AC's currently suspended investments are worth around LE30 million ($4.2 million)," Salah added.

According to the Egyptian independent daily newspaper Al-Shorouk, all the company's projects (involving infrastructure and road networks) in the North African nation are worth LE610 million ($85.3 million).

The business portfolio of the leading construction company in the Middle East and Africa is currently worth around $2.7 billion in 18 African countries, with $1.7 billion in Equatorial Guinea alone. 

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