INTERVIEW: Egypt positioned to be major regional energy hub: Eaton managing director

Doaa A.Moneim , Tuesday 2 Nov 2021

Egypt hosted the 30th edition of Energy Egypt – formerly known as ELECTRIX – which brings together energy producers and suppliers to showcase new technologies, innovative solutions, and potentials in the Egyptian market for energy sector investors.

Asharf Mahmoud
Asharf Yehia, Managing Director (MD) of Eaton Middle East. Al-Ahram

On the sidelines of the three-day event, which started on Monday, Ahram Online interviewed Managing Director of Eaton Middle East Ashraf Yehia, who expressed his optimism about Egypt’s investment and business scene, particularly in the energy and power sector.

Yehia says one of his company’s priorities in the coming months is to expand in the Egyptian market.

Eaton Corporation PLC is a multinational power management company doing business in 175 countries, including Egypt.

The company’s sales recorded $17.8 billion in 2020.

Ahram Online: How do you perceive doing business and the investment climate in Egypt?

Ashraf Yehia: Egypt is now seeing unprecedented growth rates in the economy and GDP, as it now has the biggest growth potential in the region. The growth is not only quantitative, but also qualitative, where we see improvement on the specifications of projects. Eaton can add its best value and it is setting its strategy accordingly by paying special focus on Egypt, strengthening the organisation in the country through investment in commercial and technical resources on all business divisions, establishing new partnerships and channel development activities, and working on product localisation projects.

AO: Egypt plans to be a regional energy hub in line with its Vision 2030. How can your company support that aim?

AY: I believe that Egypt is positioned to achieve significant success as a regional energy hub due to the existing and recent exploitation of resources and its geographical privilege between three continents, as well as the competitive business environment, and most importantly, the political leadership supporting the initiative through investments and economic alliances.

Eaton, as a significant energy management player in the region and with a proven track record of the reliable installed base in major energy sites in Egypt and the region, will have a vital role to play in providing the best-in-class technologies in energy management, critical systems and safety solutions that will enable the success of related future projects. 

AO: What is the size of your business in Egypt?

AY: Eaton has existed in the country through various legacy brands – Moeller, Holec, Cooper, MEM – recently united under one single brand, Eaton. This synergy is one of our most significant leverages for growth. We have a wide range of electrical solutions; low and medium voltage switchgear and components, critical power and UPS solutions, safety systems such as emergency lighting, central battery systems and fire detection devices. We are catering for all market segments, from residential to commercial buildings to industrial applications to oil and gas. We have a wide range of partner networks with PoS across the country.

AO: How does participating in Egypt Energy provide a platform for Eaton’s growth and investment in Egypt?

AY: Egypt Energy is one of the major industry events, and now it is even more important to attend after the long unwanted break due to the pandemic. We are looking forward to hosting our guests at our indoor booth and outdoor mobile showroom (Eaton truck), where our experts will present them with the latest Eaton technologies. Our main goal is to connect face-to-face with all marketplace stakeholders, e.g., clients, consultants, electricians, distributors, and to demonstrate our wide portfolio from medium voltage to low voltage systems and components, critical power and safety solutions. We need to be present in this key market as there is an exponential growth witnessed in recent years, and there are several opportunities where our solutions can best meet client need.

AO: How have Eaton’s power management solutions helped their customers in Egypt during the last 18 months?

AY: During the first wave of the pandemic, the lockdown was an unprecedented situation. Eaton learned very fast to cope with the pandemic and make the best opportunity out of such a challenge: we have been continuously virtually close to our customers, supporting them technically and commercially, hiring new team members to support the Egyptian market, and training our Eaton teams and partners on the latest technology to be ready to hit the ground running post-pandemic. Also, Eaton has worked on its presence and marketing tools both digitally as well as on-brand like PoS branding and digital campaigns. We were able to transfer technologies from Europe to our industrial partners to manufacture locally in Egypt, like Eaton’s LV and MV switchgear. The efforts bore fruit with the recent awards related to the new capital projects, where almost all our business units have a share and will have a footprint in such a prestigious project.

AO: What are your future plans in the Egyptian market?

AY: One of our key priorities in the coming months is our expansion in the Egyptian market. We started launching local partnerships, increasing the number of employees within the country, technical specifications/prescription activities, homologation for products and effective marketing work to reach our growth goals in Egypt.

AO: What are your plans for supporting digitalisation in Egypt?

AY: We are launching a more comprehensive range of digital solutions. Eaton now has a separate division focusing on digital innovations and offerings, including our theme of Building as a Grid. The energy transition creates an enormous opportunity for building owners to manage power far more effectively.

We're accelerating this shift by making it easier to integrate renewables, energy storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. With our Buildings as a Grid approach, you can transform your building into an energy hub to take advantage of the new power paradigm, better manage existing electrical infrastructure and prepare for future energy requirements. 

This is our Everything as a Grid strategy at work, creating flexible energy systems to power the future—accelerating decarbonisation, boosting resilience, reducing energy costs and creating new revenue streams. We will work together with our local partners and regulators to help in Egypt's energy transition as well.

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