Nissan halts Egyptian plant expansion over currency access snag


Nissan Motor Co.’s Egyptian unit has frozen a plant expansion project in Cairo due to a lack of access to foreign currency that prompted policy changes this week by the central bank to help investors from abroad.

Nissan Motor Egypt, the second-largest automaker in the country, has yet to determine when it can resume the expansion and add jobs, division Managing Director Isao Sekiguchi said in an interview in Cairo, without specifying how many vehicles the factory will make beyond, saying it will add “significantly” to production.

The Nissan unit has overdue payments to car-parts suppliers dating back to 2013, and it built 26,500 cars in 2015, missing a target of 28,000 vehicles, because of the difficulties of getting foreign currency to pay for components, he said.

Egypt’s central bank devalued the pound by about 13 percent during a dollar sale on Monday and said it would adopt a more flexible exchange rate to attract investments and shore up foreign reserves. Restrictions on foreign-currency deposits in the country have been in effect since February 2015.

“I think all officials are tackling the issue,” Sekiguchi said. “We appreciate all the efforts of the government and I am sure we will together overcome it.”