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Sun 18 Aug 2013 06:49 PM

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UAE developer suspends work on Egypt project

Al Futtaim Group says work on Cairo Festival City halted; situation being reviewed on daily basis

UAE developer suspends work on Egypt project
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

General Motors and German chemicals firm BASF reopened facilities in Egypt on Sunday while Electrolux extended plant closures until security stabilises.

Electrolux, the world's second-biggest home appliances maker with nearly 7,000 employees in Egypt, suspended production in the country on Wednesday for five days.

The Swedish company, whose 10 production facilities are on the outskirts of Cairo, said in a statement it would reassess developments continuously. "Operations will be resumed as soon as the security situation stabilises," it said.

More than 700 people have died, most of them backers of ousted president Mohamed Mursi, in four days of violence during which the army-backed government launched a fierce crackdown on his supporters.

Electrolux's turnover in Egypt was more than 2 billion crowns ($307m) last year, out of total sales of about 110 billion.

The real estate arm of family-owned conglomerate Al Futtaim Group said on Sunday work on Cairo Festival City - a 3 million square metre residential, commercial and retail development around one hour's drive from the areas worst affected by violence - was suspended on Wednesday.

"They (employees) have been instructed to stay at home or at a safe place ever since and the situation is being reviewed on a daily basis to ensure the safety of all our people," a spokesman for the United Arab Emirates-based firm said.

Other international firms said they were open again for business, with security staff monitoring events closely at production sites mostly some distance from the central Cairo flashpoints.

Carmaker General Motors, which halted operations on Thursday, said it decided to reopen its production plant in 6th October City, 32 km outside of Cairo, as well as its Cairo office, although it was still monitoring the situation carefully.

Chemicals company BASF, which halted production on Thursday, also said its offices in Alexandria and Cairo and a plant in Sadat City 94 km from Cairo producing construction chemicals were up and running again.

Retailer Metro AG closed its two cash and carry stores in Cairo and its Egypt headquarters on Friday and Saturday but said they were open again on Sunday.

The group's security staff were keeping an eye on current events, such as the funeral of the son of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, a spokeswoman said.