August 17, 2013 in Nation/World

Businesses halt operations during unrest

 

A number of international companies have suspended operations in Egypt as three days of violent street battles have made the streets of Cairo unsafe.

General Motors Co., Electrolux AB, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Heineken N.V., Toyota Motor Corp., Suzuki Motor Corp., BASF SE and others shut down facilities and told thousands of workers to stay at home during unrest that has left more than 600 people dead as of late Friday.

General Motors’ Egyptian operations will remain shut indefinitely, including a plant in the Cairo suburb of 6th October City where it makes cars, light trucks and minibuses. The auto giant has about 1,400 workers in Egypt, where in 1983 it became the first private automaker to establish operations in the country.

IHS Automotive analyst Paul Newton in London said Toyota and Suzuki also halted Egyptian production. Because of the unstable political situation, the forecasting company predicted that light-vehicle production in Egypt would fall almost 8 percent this year, with sales dropping nearly 4 percent.

Egypt is one of the largest vehicle manufacturing centers in Africa, Newton said.


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