Egypt's richest man Sawiris forms new investment company in Cairo
Nassef Sawiris' new investment company has already placed LE400 million in the healthcare sector and plans to buy a 25 percent stake in Duet-CIC
Ahram Online, Wednesday 11 Jun 2014
Nassef Sawiris has been the Director and the Chief Executive Officer of OCI since its incorporation in 1998
Egypt's wealthiest businessman, Nassef Sawiris, announced on Wednesday the formation of Nile Holding Investments (NHI), a private investment vehicle with the aim of investing in Egypt's growth.
The Egypt-focused and Cairo-based investment company has already put LE400 million in the healthcare sector, Sawiris stated in a press release, without providing any further details.
Sawiris also unveiled the NHI initiative of contributing up to 25 percent in Duet-CIC, a $300 million capital strategic alliance between London-based global alternative asset manager, Duet Group, and Cairo based Investment giant CI-Capital
Sawiris added that Duet-CIC will not conflict with the activities of conglomerate Orascom group.
"I am confident that Egypt is positioned to achieve exceptional economic growth in the years to come, attracting direct investments in key sectors which continue to offer substantial investment opportunities," Sawiris was quoted as saying in the release. "I believe the partnership formed between Duet Group and CI-Capital will leverage these excellent growth prospects on the backdrop of a rejuvenated investment environment under stable leadership."
The Sawiris family, one of Egypt's two wealthiest families, announced unprecedented plans to invest in the country immediately following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi a year ago.
The plans are just coming into effect now, though, with the creation of NHI by Nassef and an offer from his billionaire brother, Naguib, to acquire a stake in EFG-Hermes.
Earlier this week, a reportedly full merger is expected to happen between EFG-Hermes from one side and Naguib's Dutch-based New Egypt Investment fund and Beltone Financial from the other.
The Sawiris family was in such dispute with the Morsi regime that Onsi, the father and founder of the family's corporate empire, and Nassef fled the country while Naguib self-exiled himself in protest.
Onsi along with his son Nassef were held accountable in the Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) tax evasion case.
The spark of the controversial dispute between the Egyptian government and the Sawiris family, who own OCI, came in a speech by Morsi in October 2012, when he alleged that Orascom had evaded LE14 billion ($2 billion) in taxes.
The accusation was made over the acquisition of Orascom's subsidiary, Orascom Building Materials Holding (OBMH), by cement giant Lafarge for $12 billion.
In March, the company announced that the Egyptian prosecutor-general had exonerated OCI from any wrongdoing. However, a month later the head of Egypt's tax authority denied dropping its case against the company.
Naguib told Reuters back in July that the Islamist leader's government had sought to co-opt executives or hit his family businesses with exceptional taxes due to them being politically opposed to Morsi.
The Orascom group of companies is one of the biggest private sector employers in Egypt, providing more than 100,000 Egyptians with jobs, according to Naguib Sawiris, who now runs Orascom Telecom, Media and Technology.
Nassef's net worth is $6.7 billion, according to Forbes, making him the joint third-richest person in Africa alongside South Africa's Nicky Oppenheimer.
Naguib, with a net worth of $2.8 billion, is ranked the 11th richest person in Africa.
Onsi's net worth is $2.4 billion and he is ranked the 16th richest person on the continent.