Interview with Ahmed Wafik, CEO Saint-Gobain Egypt, about Saint-Gobain’s mission, products and presence in the Egyptian market

Ahram Online , Thursday 13 Jul 2023

AW- Saint-Gobain is an international group with a French origin and global presence in 75 countries with sustained development in emerging countries.


Can you tell us about Saint-Gobain's global presence and expansion in different markets?

AW- Saint-Gobain is an international group with a French origin and global presence in 75 countries with sustained development in emerging countries. The Group offers its expertise through its leading brands, its research centers, and its retail chains.

We are a company that is both international and multi-local, fully integrated into the territories in which we are established to support their dynamics, and participate in the creation of a fairer and more sustainable, more open, and more engaging world. Being a Worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction and with its continuous innovation process, Saint-Gobain serves a wide variety of markets with a comprehensive portfolio of solutions for the construction, industrial and mobility markets.

What is the trading volume and what are the investments that are currently pumped into the Egyptian market?

AW- Saint-Gobain is present in Egypt since 2006 and counts today 8 plants that cover two main activities, construction products, including gypsum plasters, mortars, and trading of insulation as well as building glass, including flat glass and mirrors.

In addition to two Chryso plants for construction chemicals and concrete additives.

The current Saint-Gobain investment in Egypt is above 200 M€ with a turnover of 150 M€ in 2022 out of which almost 60 M€ is from exports.

How Saint-Gobain has been able to stay true to its core mission, as set out in its purpose  "Making the world a better home" considering the bad global conditions and the challenges of exchange rate fluctuations in Egypt and the excessive costs of production inputs?

AW- Our 350 years of history and our leadership give us the responsibility and the power to continue our development, by taking up the great challenges that humanity is facing, such as climate change, or the global economic conditions which you have just been referring to in your question because we believe in our mission towards the humanity represented in people and the planet. We design, produce, and distribute materials and solutions that have a positive impact on everybody’s live, and provide well-being, quality of life and performance, while taking care of the planet. 


What are your plans for future expansion in Egypt?

AW- Saint-Gobain’s strategy, is to position itself as the leader in light and sustainable construction, notably through renovation in Europe, and light construction in emerging countries such as Egypt.

Saint-Gobain Egypt has planned to invest 300 M€ over three years to strengthen its position in the local market and expand its range of innovative products and solutions in existing businesses resulting in a positive impact on the market as well as on its customers. 

Two thirds of these investments will be in two green fields project covering new plaster board line in Sadat city and an additional float glass line in Ain El Sokhna. The remaining one third will be used to acquire local existing construction product businesses. 

Recently, the group has completed the acquisition of United Paints and Chemicals S.A.E. (“Drymix”), a ready-mix mortars manufacturer serving the construction industry in Egypt.

The acquisition of Drymix is in line with Saint-Gobain’s strategic plan, which aims to both strengthen the Group’s leadership and accelerate its growth by enriching its range of solutions for light and sustainable construction.

Other acquisition plans are under review now;These investments will double Saint-Gobain Egypt turnover revenues to be above 300 M€ per year by 2026, out of which 120 M€ generated from the export activity, in order to contribute into the country’s export strategy growth aiming to reach 100 BUSD per year.

These new investments will create additional 2700 jobs (direct jobs of 700 and indirect jobs of 2000).

How is the current investment climate in Egypt is attractive to your investments?

AW- Egypt has a strong potential economic growth in our region considering its geographical location, connecting East and West, its rich natural resources, and human capital (more than 103 M inhabitants in 2022).

In addition to the above, we could rely on the country’s political stability and the government’s programs of economical structural reforms and laws, including the new Investment Law Amendment, Golden Licenses, State Ownership document, expanding of the export incentive program.

All these laws and initiatives aim to improve Egypt's investment and business climate by attracting new FDI (Foreign Direct Investment).

What are the solutions offered by Saint-Gobain in its industries to achieve net carbon emissions?

AW- At Saint-Gobain, we see ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) as a real performance driver.

We have been building our credibility in the fight against climate change for a long time now, through developing solutions keeping in mind the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the construction, mobility, and industry. In addition, to our actions that were put in place to reduce CO2 emissions that linked directly to our industrial processes.

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