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March 21, 2018

Egypt to produce fiber optic cable via a joint venture with a Chinese company

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An optical fiber cable manufacturing factory in Cairo—co-established by China’s Hengtong Optic-Electric Co., Ltd., and Egypt’s HitekNOFAL Group—was inaugurated March 6 with the official opening of the plant.

Per reports from media and company websites, the new operation, called HitekNOFAL Hengtong Optix, is the first Egyptian-Chinese joint venture specialized in manufacturing fiber optic cables and accessories. The plant is located in the Bader Industrial City, which is in the northeast section of the Cairo governate. The 33,000-sq-m plant, highly automated, has an annual production capacity of more than one million km of fiber. “(HitekNOFAL) aims to cover the needs of the Egyptian market of fiber cables and plans to export to African markets by mid-2019, in parallel with the increasing production capacity of the factory. A second plant is also to be built, with the total cost over the next three years estimated at $30 million. The company plans to reach 80% of local components in the cable manufacturing process by 2021.”

Egyptian market’s demand for optical cables is growing year by year, and its main resource at present still depends on imports, said HitekNOFAL CEO Mohammed Nofal. He noted that over the past four years, Telecom Egypt has been working on replacing copper wires in all Egyptian governorates with fiber optic wires. As of June 2017, the company had replaced 40%, but will need much fiber to meet its goals. “Nevertheless, the co-founded factory with HENGTONG is expected to satisfy about 80% of the domestic needs within this year and achieve export in the middle of 2019.”

A report in Xinhuanet cited HitekNOFAL Marketing Manager Randa Tawfiq as saying that a key goal is to supply the “core,” which is the most difficult part in the process. The manufacture of this part of the cables is limited and is only carried out by a limited number of companies around the world and the company seeks to transfer this advanced (preform) technology to Egypt.” The factory will also manufacture micro-trenching cables, which is relatively new cable technology that allows the cable to be laid without extensive road digging.

Attending the inauguration was Yasser ElKady, Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology. Following the opening, he said that the government’s strategic plan to develop Egypt’s telecom infrastructure considers optical fiber cables an essential pillar.
Mohamed Nofal, chairman of HitekNOFAL Solutions, noted that his company has more than 30 years of experience in the field of telecom and cable solutions. The company’s goal is to train Egyptian workers to manufacture optical fiber cables in partnership with the Hengtong Group to cover domestic demand and exports abroad.

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