EGYPT – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has agreed to provide to ElSewedy’s subsidiary United Metals Company (UMC) a two-year, US$25 million facility to back the company’s working capital needs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loan will enhance the Company’s financial resilience to withstand the potential negative implications of the COVID-19 pandemic through providing funding to source raw materials, EBRD said in a statement.

UMC, 99.8% owned by El Sewedy Electric, is an Egyptian joint stock company specialized in the production of copper rods, the main raw material used in the production of copper cables.

“Pandemic-related supply disruptions had contributed to soaring copper prices, including copper cathodes during the second half of 2020 and continuing into 2021,” EBRD said.

As part of the loan agreement, El Sewedy Electric will partner with the EBRD to launch a first of its kind awareness campaign for promoting equal opportunities aimed at empowerment of women and people with disabilities in the manufacturing industries in Egypt.

United Metals Company had in 2019 received a similar loan from EBRD to boost the company’s working capital and co-finance the implementation of a comprehensive environmental and social action plan which includes the purchase of modern equipment that will set new quality standards in Egypt’s wire and electrical products industry.

Addressing skills mismatches and enhancing technical skills in Egypt’s private sector, EBRD provided to Elsewedy Technical Academy a technical cooperation package financed by the Swiss development cooperation agency, SECO. In 2017, EBRD provided a first loan of US$25 million to UMC.

Established in 1998, UMC is a subsidiary of Elsewedy Electric, one of the largest cable and electrical product manufacturers in the Middle East and Africa, with 30 production facilities in 14 countries.

Egypt is a founding member of EBRD. Since the start of its operations in Egypt in 2012, the Bank has invested close to €5 billion (US$5.87bn) in 93 projects in the country. 2018 was a record year for the Bank in Egypt, when it was the largest EBRD country of operations in terms of new commitments.