SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 18 June 2021, Friday | النسخة العربية

Court Allows Suez Canal to Keep Holding ‘Ever Given’

An Egyptian court on Sunday rejected an appeal by the Japanese owner of the Ever Given container ship against the vessel’s detention in the Suez Canal. The Ever Given ran aground on March 23 in high winds and remained lodged across the canal for a week.

The complaint was attached to a case at the economic court in Ismailia in which the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) sought $916 million in compensation from Ever Given’s owner Shoei Kisen.

The Ismailia court on Sunday referred the case back to a court of first instance, which is due to consider it on May 29, said Ahmed Abu Ali, one of the lawyers representing the owner. Any ruling made by the lower court could trigger appeals, said another lawyer, Ahmed Abu Shanab, indicating that legal wrangling could drag on.

In a statement following Sunday’s ruling the SCA said it bore no responsibility for the Ever Given’s grounding, reasserting that responsibility lay with the ship’s captain alone.

In another context, the acquisition of the 51 percent stake, approved by the cabinet on Wednesday, will be finalized in the third quarter, CEO Karim Awad told Reuters.

“Our share in the bank will be financed through the liquidity available to the company on its own. We have lots of liquidity,” Awad told Reuters, adding that EFG Hermes began working to fulfill all government conditions and approvals as soon as the cabinet approved the deal.

The Sovereign Fund of Egypt will also buy new shares worth 1.25 billion pounds, increasing AIB’s capital to 5 billion pounds, while the current owner, state-owned National Bank of Egypt, will retain a 24 percent stake.

“We are not entering the banking sector to compete with the big banks operating in Egypt,” Awad said. “Rather, we are seeking to find a portion of the market to focus on to provide services to help it grow.”

He added that the new owners would retain all of AIB’s current employees but would study a possible change in the bank’s name.