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Companies react to the bloodshed in Egypt

EMC, others move to protect their employees as country boils

The Egyptian stock market fell sharply when it reopened on Sunday as violence continued.

Louafi Larbi/Reuters

The Egyptian stock market fell sharply when it reopened on Sunday as violence continued.

As protesters, government forces, and others continue to clash in Cairo following the military takeover, officials at Hopkinton-based EMC Corp. are drawing on lessons learned during the beginning of the Arab Spring, in 2011, to keep employees in Egypt safe.

All EMC employees in Egypt are working remotely from home for the time being, and the company has increased security around its facility in Cairo, spokeswoman Christine Carosella said.

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EMC is one of several companies with operations in Egypt that are taking steps to protect employees from the extreme violence that has broken out between the military-led government and supporters of the deposed Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted from power in July.

The Waltham-based defense contractor Raytheon Co., which has more than 500 employees in the Middle East and offices in Egypt, according to its website, had no comment.

The company does significant business with Egypt, including contracts to provide technology inside F-16 fighter jets purchased by the Egyptian Air Force and to outfit Egyptian Navy vessels with weapons systems.

Hittite Microwave Corp., which financial filings show opened a 5,400-square-foot design center in Cairo in September 2011, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Chelmsford company designs circuits and other instrumentation for a variety of applications, including digital, radio frequency, and microwave.

Egypt is not one of the state’s top export markets, but Massachusetts exported nearly $60 million worth of products to the country in 2012, federal data show. The state sent roughly $50 million worth of products between Jan. 1 and June 30.

The most recent wave of violence began last Wednesday, when the Egyptian military attacked two campsites set up by Morsi supporters. Hundreds were killed and thousands wounded as bulldozers leveled the camps and fleeing protesters were hit with bullets and tear gas.

Morsi was Egypt’s first freely elected president following the 2011 uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to abandon his decades-long authoritarian reign.

More violence followed over the weekend and through Monday as protesters and security forces continued to battle.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian court has ordered Mubarak released on grounds that the legal limit for holding someone in custody pending trial has expired. His release could trigger another outpouring of unrest by Morsi’s people.

EMC said that as long as the violence continues, it will monitor the situation to “ensure the safety and security of our employees and that there is no business disruption of services to our customers.”

Meanwhile, several international companies that had shuttered their facilities in Egypt following the outbreak of violence last week are now reopening, including the chemical company BASF, automaker General Motors, and oil company Royal Dutch Shell.

According to e-mails from BASF, which employs about 100 in offices in Cairo and Alexandria and at a production facility in Sadat City, the company shut down Thursday but resumed operations Sunday.

General Motors, which employs more than 1,400 Egyptians, reopened Sunday after closing its Cairo office Wednesday and halting production operations at a nearby plant.

“The safety and security of our employees remains important to us,” the company said in an e-mail. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Erin Ailworth can be reached at eailworth@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ailworth.
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