Sainsbury's to pull out of Egypt
British retailer Sainsbury's, which opened its first supermarkets in Egypt last January, has decided to pull out of the Egyptian market and sell its shares to an Egyptian investor, the state-owned daily Al-Gomhuriya said in its Sunday issue.
Negotiations have been under way since September with this investor, whose name was not revealed, and the two parties are expected to reach an agreement "in the coming weeks," the newspaper said.
Sainsbury's-Egypt, a company where 20 percent of the capital is held by partner Arab Group, opened 114 chains in a year in the Greater Cairo area. The decision by the main investor to sell its shares is not linked to calls for a boycott of British and US products, Al-Gomhuriya said.
Shortly after the Palestinian uprising erupted in late September, Egyptian students demonstrating against Israel threw stones at two Sainsbury's supermarkets in the suburban town of Maadi, southern Cairo, convinced the owners were Jewish.
On December 1, Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi of Al-Azhar, the highest authority for the world's Sunni Muslims, called for a boycott of products that benefit Israel over the Palestinians. He added that boycotting such products, "Whether they're American or from somewhere else," was considered "a duty and a form of national support for the struggle of the Palestinian people."
Over 300 people have been killed in ten weeks of violent clashes between Israel and the Palestinians, rekindling anti-Israeli and anti-Western sentiment across the Arab and Islamic world. — (AFP, Cairo)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)