Metro Cash & Carry is set to further expand its international business with entry into Egypt.

The Germany-based group has lined up the country’s capital Cairo for its first Makro outlet, which is scheduled to open in late 2009.

“We are opening our first test store before the end of 2009. Within the next three to five years we see potential to open up to ten stores across Egypt,” a spokesperson for the company told just-food.

In an indication of Egypt’s strong backing for the move, the government and Metro held a joint press conference over the weekend to announce the company’s plans.

Trade and industry minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid said the government was “very excited” about Metro’s imminent entry into the country.

“It is testament to the country’s booming economy and a sign of our ever increasing competitiveness,” Rachid said. “Egypt has for many years now been positioning itself as a regional manufacturing and export hub for European investors looking for access to the vast consumer markets of the region.”

Metro has yet to secure the land and licences for its stores but has earmarked the opening of ten stores in Egypt “in the medium term”.

Frans Muller, CEO of Metro Cash & Carry International, said: “We hope that we will be able to roll-out our business across the country as fast as possible.”

The stores will cater for professional customers and small and medium-sized businesses, Metro said.