Egypt's GB Auto warns against proposed ban on 'tuk-tuk' imports

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 13, 2014 12:10 hrs

CAIRO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Egypt's proposed ban on the import of motorbikes and three-wheelers, or 'tuk-tuks', would have an "adverse impact" on GB Auto, the country's largest car assembler, the company said on Thursday.

Two- and three-wheelers contributed around 13 percent of GB Auto's revenues in the first nine months of 2013, according to company data. GB Auto is the Egyptian distributor for tuk-tuks and motorbikes from Indian maker Bajaj.

Egypt's cabinet gave authority to the finance ministry on Wednesday to temporarily ban the import of 'tuk-tuks', fully assembled motorbikes and their components.

"The statement issued yesterday, while clearly of concern, is not a final decision, but rather cabinet having authorised the minister of finance to impose a ban if he should determine it is in the national interest," GB Auto's chairman Raouf Ghabbour said in a statement.

"Any move to ban the import of motorcycles and three-wheelers would not only have an adverse impact on GB Auto but, more importantly, a sharply negative impact on the Egyptian economy," he added.

The cabinet said it entrusted the finance ministry with banning the import of fully assembled motorbikes and tuk-tuks for a year and the import of parts for local assembly of the vehicles for three months to "study" the matter.

It was not immediately clear when the decision would be implemented.

The stock exchange said earlier it had suspended trading in GB Auto's shares on Thursday pending "a statement from the company", without giving further details.

The shares closed at 39.95 Egyptian pounds ($5.74) on Wednesday. ($1=6.9612 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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