By Gordon Platt
Cairo-based GB Auto, Egypt's largest listed automaker, auto assembler and distributor, issued global depositary receipts that trade in the New York and London over-the-counter markets. It issued the GDRs without a capital increase.
Also known as Ghabbour Auto, the company sells passenger cars, buses, trucks, trailers, motorbikes, construction equipment and tires. It operates Egypt's largest network of automotive sales and service centers.
GB Auto assembles, imports and distributes passenger cars under the Hyundai brand. Automotive sales in Egypt are forecast to decline by 33% this year, but GB Auto expects its sales to be little changed in 2009 as it gains market share.
Egypt's state-owned automaker, El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing, which assembles cars under license from Fiat, will either be sold or shut down, according to the Ministry of Investment. GB Auto is expected to increase its sales of taxis under a government program that will provide fleet owners with low-interest loans to replace aging cars.
GB Auto plans to enter the Algerian commercial vehicle market through a joint venture with Brazil-based bus manufacturer Marcopolo. The joint venture is building a bus-body assembly plant in Suez. GB Auto will begin assembling a new Volvo bus in Egypt.
The Bank of New York Mellon is the depositary bank for the GB Auto GDR program. Each GDR represents five ordinary shares that trade on the Egyptian Exchange, formerly known as the Cairo and Alexandria Exchange.