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No limit on new Suez Canal certificates: Egypt's finance minister

Egyptian investors can buy unlimited shares of investment certificates in the new Suez Canal mega project, to be issued next Sunday

Ahram Online, Monday 18 Aug 2014
 Suez Canal
Egyptian fishermen fish in front of a Maltese ship crossing the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 (Photo: AP)

There will be no limit on the amount of investment certificates individuals and corporations can buy in the new Suez Canal development project, Egypt's Finance Minister Hany Kadry Demian said in a statement on Monday.

Earlier this month, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi launched a mega project to build a 72 km long parallel artificial waterway alongside the Suez Canal in the coming year, at a projected cost of $4 billion.

The project will be financed through investment certificates, issued to Egyptians only, in local currency for citizens working inside the country and possibly in dollars and euros for those residing abroad, according to Demian.

The ban on foreigners buying certificates to fund the project stems from the special historical status of the Suez Canal, notably the sensitivity surrounding its Egyptian ownership, though foreign investments will be welcomed in planned development projects surrounding the vital waterway.

The certificates, which will have a maturity of five years at a 12 percent yield to be distributed quarterly to owners, will be issued starting next Sunday by three state-owned banks – the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr and Banque du Caire – on behalf of the Suez Canal Authority, Investment Minister Ashraf Salman told Reuters' affiliated Aswat Masriya on Monday.

Interest on the investment certificates will be paid by the canal authority from its revenues, which are expected to increase from $5.5 billion this year to $13 billion over the next four years, the finance minister stated.

The remainder of the funding for the project will come from syndicated loans from Egyptian banks, according to Demian.

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