Egypt court to rule on TMG Madinaty sale 23 November

An Egyptian court said on Tuesday it would decide on November 23 whether a government solution to a dispute over the sale of state land to Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) was valid.

TMG's Madinaty real estate project has been mired in a legal row since a court said the land on which it is built should have been sold at auction, sparking concern among investors that other state land sales may be challenged.

The government's answer was to scrap the original contract and return the land to TMG, Egypt's biggest listed developer, under a new deal on the same terms, based on its right to act in the national interest.

That was challenged in an administrative court by a private citizen, Hamdy Fakhrany, the same plaintiff who brought the original suit against TMG.

TMG said on Monday it signed a new contract.

That news sent lifted its shares 2 percent in early Tuesday trade, while the benchmark index dipped 0.2 percent.

The row has prompted more than one copycat lawsuit, including one challenging a state land sale to Palm Hills Development, Egypt's second-biggest listed developer.

The court is due to hear the Palm Hills suit on 23 November, but will not issue a ruling on this date.

Both cases hinge on conflicting laws governing state land deals. The original court ruling said a Housing Ministry body sold land to TMG in violation of a 1998 law. The government said it was following legislation which preceded that law.

The cabinet has drafted a legal framework for state land deals to ease investment, oversee the sale and use of state land and remove disputes between state bodies over land deals.

That legislation has been delayed by parliamentary elections set for 28 November.

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