Edita boss praises officials' ‘personal attention’ after sugar seizure

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags: Egypt

A face-off between Egyptian authorities and the country’s biggest food company ended last week after Edita Foods Industries’ sugar supply was returned following confiscation by officials.

The Prosecutor General's office ordered the release of Edita's sugar inventory, which had been seized the previous week at the company's factory in Beni Suef governorate in Upper Egypt.

The company was forced to suspend production of packaged pastries, cakes and snacks including locally manufactured Twinkies after authorities confiscated around 2,000 tonnes of sugar. 

The order by a government inspection committee resulted in a temporary halt of the Beni Suef plant’s operations pending resolution.

Edita, which had been under official investigation to find out whether sugar found in the company’s storage facilty had been illegally purchased, said the inventory was equivalent to a three-week supply for manufacturing.

Egypt has been enduring a worrying sugar shortage following a central dip in dollar reserves. The nationwide issue has led to a hike in the price of unsubsidised sugar, which has doubled in price to EGP9-10 (US$1.00-1.13) since August.

Hani Berzi, Edita's chairman and managing director said his company “had grown and thrived through an iron-clad commitment to abiding the law​”. 

We have demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Prosecutor General’s office that our stocks of sugar in Beni Suef were lawfully obtained and were held at a level commensurate with our standard inventory holdings and pace of operations​.”

The seized inventory had been acquired by Edita at market prices from the private sector, Berzi added.

In a swipe at the Prosecutor General’s office, he thanked officials for the “personal attention​” they had lavished on Edita. 

[They] clearly understand the definition of private property and of a free market economy.

“We are now resuming production at our Beni Suef plant; all 5,500 of our Egyptian staff at our four plants nationwide look forward to being an engine of economic growth not just in these admittedly challenging times, but as the macro backdrop improves in the years ahead​,” Berzi added.

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