Egyptian firm Qalaa Holding acknowledged in a 30 July filing to the Egyptian Stock Exchange that its need to continually raise finance has seen its ownership of the under-development 81,500 b/d Egyptian Refining Company (ERC) hydrocracker in Cairo fall to just 13.14%. The latest fall is the result of fellow investors Egyptian state firm EPGC and Qatari state counterpart QP underwriting $192mn of additional equity at the time of financial close in June 2012, as well as EGPC underwriting $50mn and QP $4.7mn of a later $70mn capital increase.

ERC is nearing completion of trial operations at the plant, built alongside the aging Cairo refinery to upgrade its residual fuel oil output into transport fuels. The ERC plant, whose capital requirement was estimated at $4.3bn at the time of project go-ahead, was first scheduled to start up in early 2017, but construction has been slowed by fundraising issues (MEES, 12 July). Qalaa chairman Ahmad Heikal recently said he was “actively seeking a larger ownership stake” in ERC (MEES, 17 May). (CONTINUED - 164 WORDS)