Egyptian British company General Development (Galina Agrofris) has achieved sales of EGP 150m in the first eight months of this year, Abdel Wahed Soliman, chairperson of Galina-Agrofreeze, said.
He added that the company spent EGP 21m last year to establish new production lines at its factory, particularly the sorting and stripping okra line, and a sorting and cutting fruit line.
Soliman pointed out that the company’s recent investments contributed to increasing productivity by 40% to reach 7,000 tonnes in 2017, compared to 4,800 tonnes in 2016, all of which are directed for exporting.
He added that the company has begun to manufacture all its agricultural exports instead of relying on other companies’ factories.
Soliman said Galina’s exports reached 10,500 tonnes of frozen vegetables and fruits in the first eight months of this year, and the company aims to increase this volume to 15,000 tonnes by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the company seeks to invest EGP 40m in the coming period to establish a new plant for the production of fruit and vegetable concentrates.
Soliman said that the planned plant will be built on an area of 23,000 square meters in the Al Nahda Industrial Zone in Alexandria, and the construction period will last for eight months.
He explained that 35% of the targeted investments will be self-financed, and the rest will be financed by the banking sector, as part of the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) initiative to provide funds at a 5% reducing interest rate.
Soliman said that Banque Misr is currently considering the company’s request to partly finance the project, noting that they expect reaching a final agreement with the bank in the coming period.
Moreover, he pointed out that the company exports its products to several countries, the most important of which are the United States, Canada, Japan, European Union, and Arab Gulf countries, noting that Russia and Europe account for 60% of the company’s exports.
Russia alone receives up to 40% of Galena’s exports annually, and the company aims to increase this ratio in the next period to reach 60%.
Regarding agricultural crops, Soliman stressed the need to develop the agricultural manufacturing sector in the coming period rather than exporting raw materials.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that this step requires providing the necessary land for planting crops that can be manufactured, and obtaining necessary licenses for the establishment of new factories near the agricultural areas to reduce transportation costs.
Soliman pointed out that this sector should benefit from the CBE’s initiative for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to provide funds at a 5% interest rate.
He explained that the sector’s weak profitability in the recent period, was driven by production cost hikes, especially, the frequent increase in diesel prices over the past two years.
Besides, the Ministry of Industry and the Export Development Fund’s delay in the payment of companies’ dues for more than two years under export support programme, is one of the biggest obstacles to the sector’s development.