Nissan Halts Egyptian Plant Expansion on Currency Access Snag

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

Nissan Motor Egypt, the second-biggest 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 unit of Yokohama, Japan-based Nissan 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 difficulty in getting foreign currency to pay for components, he said.

Egypt’s central bank devalued the country’s 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 done by the government and I am sure we will together overcome it."

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