Qalaa Holdings is in negotiations to increase its shareholdings in the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), Qalaa managing director, Hisham El Khazindar, told Al Borsa.

Qalaa Holdings currently owns 16.2% of the company’s shares, and hopes that it can acquire a larger stake by increasing its level of capital investment.

The move is part of a wider investment drive as the company looks to expand its holdings in companies operating in a number of sectors such as ERC, Taqa Arabia and Tawazon.

The ERC is a joint venture between the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and the Arab Refining Company (ARC) – a company owned by a consortium of private investors including Qalaa Holdings. EGPC holds a 30.8% stake in the ERC while the ARC owns the rest.

The ERC is currently finishing the construction of $4.2 billion refinery capable of producing 4.7 million tons of petroleum products each year.  This will include 2.3 million tons of European-standard diesel, and 600,000 tons of mazut-based jet fuel.

ERC Managing Director Mohamed Saad said in March 2018 that the refinery would start test operations in September 2018 with a view to beging operating at full capacity by the end of 2018 or early 2019.