CFC starts amid bourse conflict

DEVELOPER Alkan Holdings last week broke ground on the Cairo Financial Centre (CFC) project. The US$416 million development has been touted as the “single biggest office complex in Egypt.”

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By  Rhys Jones Published  September 18, 2005

Although Alkan officials claimed the Cairo-Alex Stock Exchange (CASE) would be at the centre of the CFC, the head of the bourse claims the exchange is moving to the Smart Village — prime minister Ahmed Nazif’s baby. “We are definitely moving to the Smart Village,” said Maged Shawky, chairman, CASE. “This has been in the works for a long time now — from the time when Dr. Ahmed Nazif was Minister of CIT. In fact, Dr. Sameh Al-Torgoman [the previous head of the CASE] was very excited about the Smart Village idea and most of the government entities are there — the infrastructure is in place,” he added. Alkan, which operates 13 subsidiaries including pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and textiles originally planned to use the CASE as a drawing card to attract the nation’s financial heavyweights. However, as the project fell behind its 2002 opening schedule, its bid to house the exchange fell into jeopardy. “Originally, the CASE was to be located in the CFC — but it took too much time to build, and so I believe it will now take a different shape, but you have to ask Alkan about that,” said Aly El-Hefnawy, managing director and chairman of the board of the Smart Village. Despite this, CFC officials claim that the CASE has made no firm decision about Smart City and that the exchange is still considering the CFC as a viable option. “The CASE is also considering Smart Village — that is their right — the contract was dissolved because we did not meet the deadline,” said Khaled Nassar, the CFC’s general manager. “However, as far as I know, no contract has been signed with Smart Village. We sent the CASE a formal letter, explaining the delay and informing them that we are still very interested in housing them, and their response was that they are considering it. It just doesn’t make sense for them not to want to relocate here,” he added. While Alkan Holding's had originally hoped to house the CASE as of this year, the facility is now scheduled for completion in 2007. Excavation of the project’s foundation has just begun, and the CFC is committed to completing phase one, which will cover over 50% of the development's entire area. With some 260,000 square metres of office space looking out at the Citadel, the CFC is the largest project Alkan, which is owned by billionaire Mohamed Nosseir, has ever undertaken. The development will include eight office towers, several entertainment facilities as well as a five-star hotel.

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