Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Algeria takes big leap backwards

Algeria has created an investment fund to nationalize subsidiaries of foreign groups who would decide to leave the country. Fifteen years after having liberalized its economy, Algeria is taking a step backwards. Algeria has stiffened conditions for foreign investment and for transfer of capitals, and appears ready to nationalize certain foreign companies. The Egyptian group Orascom, whose Algerian subsidiary Djezzy, has been targeted. Algiers notified Orascom of a tax adjustment of nearly USD600 million for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007. The Egyptian group is accused of having transferred hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends.

Besides Orascom, other foreign groups, particularly French ones, could be affected by partial or total nationalization moves, such as French banks Société Générale and BNP Paribas as well as Renault and Peugeot.

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