(Adds detail, background, writes through)
By Maggie Fick
CAIRO, May 17 (Reuters) - Egyptian construction and
fertiliser group OCI said its core earnings were flat
in the first quarter, citing lower construction margins and
reduced output at its Egyptian plants due to interruptions in
supplies of natural gas.
The Dutch-listed parent of Orascom Construction Industries
(OCI) said output from its Egyptian plants was reduced
by the gas supply reductions, which it linked to a tax dispute
between its subsidiary OCI and the Egyptian authorities.
It gave no figure for core profit or EBITDA (earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation).
The group, one of Egypt's biggest companies, also said on
Friday it estimated first-quarter consolidated earnings had
increased by between 10 and 20 percent from last year, but again
gave no figures.
It said its Egyptian plants "faced natural gas supply
curtailments" during the first quarter, but that since a
settlement agreement on April 30, gas utilisation rates had
OCI, run by one of Egypt's most prominent Christian
families, the Sawiris, said last month the Egyptian tax
authority had exonerated it of wrongdoing after it agreed to pay
7.1 billion Egyptian pounds ($1 billion) to resolve a tax
The dispute stemmed from the company's plan to delist from
the Egyptian bourse, a move which was resisted by the country's
OCI NV, which already owns about 70 percent of the
Egypt-listed shares, had on Tuesday cut the price of its tender
offer for the delisting without giving a reason for the
reduction, though analysts said it was not a surprise after a
fall in the price of the Cairo-listed stock.
($1 = 6.9760 Egyptian pounds)
(Editing by David Holmes)