Sainsbury's vs Egypt: The four key numbers behind Mike Coupe's legal row

Jessica Morris
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The legal dispute runs back to Sainsbury's foray into Egypt around 16 years ago (Source: Getty)

Sainsbury's today denied that chief executive Mike Coupe tried to seize cheques linked to the collapse of an Egyptian business the supermarket invested in 16 years ago.

This comes after his sentencing to two years in prison amid allegations of embezzlement by an Egyptian court. Coupe was found found guilty in absentia after he failed to attend the court hearing held in Giza, Egypt.

More on this story: Chief executive Mike Coupe is sentenced to two years in an Egyptian jail

Here are four key numbers that explain the story:

80 per cent

The legal row harks back to Sainsbury's short-lived foray into Egypt around 16 years ago. The supermarket entered into a joint venture with Egyptian Distribution Group, which is also known as Edge, and was then owned by local businessmen Amr el-Nasharty.

It paid £10m in March 1999 for a 25 per cent stake in Edge, and £40m six months later to raise it to 80 per cent.


The deal left Sainsbury's with with more than 100 stores in Egypt and it employed over 2,000 people. But just a year after the purchase, there was already talk of a share dilution, after it racked up operating losses of £10m.


Sainsbury eventually sold its stock back to local businessman Nasharty (from whom it was first purchased) for an undisclosed sum in 2001. And the supermarket was later forced to write off over £111m due to the end of its disastrous excursion into Egypt.


Nacharty later launched legal action seeking over £100m in compensation for tax liabilities and other losses, saying he was unwittingly saddled with a poorly managed business when the supermarket exited Egypt.

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