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Sodic Seeks to Void Land Deal With Solidere, Wants Compensation

Six of October Development & Investment Co. wants to void agreements and get compensation from Solidere International, saying that the Beirut-based company didn’t develop a land plot according to plan.

The Egyptian luxury real-estate company filed for arbitration in Egypt, seeking to void two agreements dated 2007 and 2008 with Solidere to sub-develop the 250,000 square-meter plot known as Westown, it said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Ashraf Farid, executive director of operations at Sodic, declined to specify how much compensation the company is seeking.

“For the past couple of years we asked Solidere to provide their urban design masterplans, so we could get the necessary permits for the project, but nothing moved from their side,” Farid said in a phone interview yesterday. “So, we will go ahead and develop the land on our own.”

Mounib Hammoud, chief operating officer of Solidere International, wasn’t available when contacted at his office yesterday and today. He didn’t respond to e-mailed questions sent yesterday.

Sodic and Solidere had planned to invest 22 billion pounds ($3.6 billion) to develop two projects, the first, Westown, in Cairo’s southern suburb of Giza and the second in New Cairo, according to a statement on Sodic’s website dated Jan. 1, 2008. Westown, a residential and business district, is scheduled for completion in 2015, Farid said yesterday.

The New Cairo project, called Eastown, is now the subject of a legal dispute between Sodic and the government. The contracts between Solidere on Eastown were never signed, so it isn’t involved, Farid said.

Sodic shares fell 1.4 percent to 25.50 pounds at 11 a.m. in Cairo, valuing the company at 2.31 billion pounds. The stock has more than tripled this year, compared with a 56 percent gain for Egypt’s benchmark EGX 30 Index.

Solidere’s Beirut-listed A shares declined 0.5 percent to $12.85 in Beirut, valuing the company at $2.22 billion.

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