OCI to resume talks over LE14 billion of unpaid taxes

Ahram Online, Monday 28 Jan 2013

Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) has said it is willing to end a dispute with Egyptian tax authorities over the sale of part of the company to French giant Lafarge

Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), Egypt's largest listed company, has announced that it will resume talks with the Egyptian tax authority over a dispute about unpaid tax.

The tax authority had accused OCI of tax evasion after it sold its cement unit to French giant Lafarge.

An initial agreement had been reached between the Egyptian blue chip and the government in November over the alleged LE14 billion ($2.28 billion) in unpaid taxes, which entailed a reduction of LE2 billion ($32.6 million) in the amount due.

Lafarge acquired OCI's cement production unit with a total of $12.9 billion in 2007. The Egyptian tax authority claimed that OCI had failed to fulfill its tax duties over the cement unit's revenues.

"Orascom is keen to settle its dispute with Egypt's tax authority and will be completely transparent regarding its revenues from the Lafarge deal," said Nassef Sawiris, Chariman of Orascom Construction Industries, in a press statement Monday.

OCI shares witnessed a recent surge in value after the company successfully ended its Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) programme at the London Stock Exchange, as the company relocated from Cairo to Amsterdam under the newly-founded construction and fertilizer company OCI NV.

A group of US investors led by Bill Gates announced they will acquire a $1 billion stake in OCI NV.

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