Generous billionaire: how to earn $2.9 billion in Egypt

On September 1, the active Twitter user and Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris offered to buy an island to help refugees fleeing to Europe. His wealth allows it: bold investments earned him $2.9 billion.
11.09.2015
RBC
Origin source
In early September, the Egyptian Naguib Sawiris in his Twitter has offered to buy an island in Italy or Greece to help migrants. Three days later, in an interview with AFP, he developed his idea: "You have dozens of abandoned, orphaned islands that can shelter hundreds of thousands in need." Sawiris announced his readiness to help with temporary housing. In the future, according to his plan, the refugees themselves will have to build infrastructure themselves, and then, perhaps, to declare itself an independent state.

According to various estimates, the cost of the Greek and Italian islands comes to $ 100 million Sawiris could well afford such expenditure -. According to Forbes reports on 10 September, his fortune was estimated at $ 2.9 billion Much of this money was earned in the telecommunications sector.. Now Naguib owns Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT), combining the assets of telecom and cable networks in several developing countries, including his native Egypt businessman.

Shortly after the publication of tweets about the purchase of the island to refugees social network exploded posts in support Sawiris.

Plan the island for refugees & mdash; Sawiris usual modus operandi. He was accustomed to unite in their projects ambitious idea - buy the island, for example - with pragmatic considerations. The billionaire is ready to allocate funds for the initial stage, but later the refugees must provide themselves with their own. Sawiris's entire career has been built on high-risk investments, each of which was an exact calculation.

Egyptian minority

Naguib Sawiris was born June 17, 1954 to a wealthy Egyptian Coptic family. Copts - Christians are a minority and the Muslim population of the country. Copts are usually very devout. This trait was passed and Naguib - the eldest of three sons. Father was the future billionaire businessman Onsi Sawiris, who owned a construction business. In 1961 it was nationalized by the government of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Five years later, the family moved to Libya and returned home only after Egypt's reorientation on the capitalist path of development. Sawiris family began to do business in Egypt since 1976, and the foundation of the future empire Orascom Development became.

As he recalledbusinessman, the main investment was not his father's business and his sons: Naguib, Sami and Nasef. They all received an excellent education in the West. For example, the senior finished the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Before that Naguib studied German at the Protestant school in Cairo.

At age 19 his father Naguib got power of attorney for his estate, but never took the opportunity. In 1979 he went to work in Orascom. "By this time I had already earned himself a quarter of a million. I came to start a completely new projects, "- he recalled later in an interview for the Cairo West Magazine.

Status Naguib Sawiris in figures

577 th place is occupied by Naguib Sawiris in the list of the richest people in the world, according to Forbes

3rd place belongs to him on the list of wealthy Egyptians. Sawiris is second only to his younger brother Nasefu with a fortune of $ 6.3 billion and Mohammed Mansour - conglomerate owner Mansour Group c fortune of $ 4 billion

$ 6.5 billion was Naguib Sawiris, selling its telecom assets VimpelCom. Only $ 1.8 billion of this amount was paid in cashand

$ 1.2 billion brought, according to media estimates, Sawiris sale of assets in Iraq

$ 28 million was net profit of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding for the second quarter 2015

Source: Forbes, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding

Digital Expansion Orascom

Start really Naguib new projects had to wait more than a decade. Only in the mid-1990s, he was able to move away from the building and start a new time for digital communications sector, including cellular. In 1997, as part of a conglomerate Orascom creates Telecom Holding. He combined the telecommunication assets of the company. As noted by "Vedomosti" newspaper, by 1998, Orascom Telecom Holding of Egypt was the only company to combine all three types of communication - radio, fixed telephone and satellite VSAT.

Western and Egyptian media have speculated that his success in the telecom sector of the Egyptian Orascom Holding was obliged to have good relations with Naguib right then the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Businessman allegedly maintained a good relationship with his son Gamal Mubarak. The latter is considered likely successor to the post of headss state. At the same time publicly in the 2000s, Naguib was extremely cautious in his political actions.

In 2007-2008-ies businessman achieved the maximum success, rising in the Forbes world rankings to 60th place with a fortune of $ 12.7 billion. At the same time Sawiris starts to invest in the media, becoming an investor Al-Masry al-Youm daily Egyptian newspapers launching a satellite TV and OTV OnTV. Later, they will actively cover the events of the "Arab Spring".

In the 2000s, the success of Orascom has been associated with the proliferation of mobile communications in Algeria and Iraq. In 2001, the holding company spent $ 700 million on the purchase of a license to provide mobile telecommunication services in Algeria. So there was an operator Orascom Telecom Algeria, which is better known under the name Djezzy. In 2003, Sawiris bought for $ 1.2 billion, one of the three licenses to provide cellular services, and sold it twice as much as four years later.

In the 2010s Sawiris traded most of their telecom assets for a stake in VimpelCom - the owner of the brand "Beeline", which came out on an international level. Egyptian businessman received about 30% of the voting shares and $ 1.8 billion in cash. To this day, pokPKA assets Sawiris is the biggest deal in the history of Russian investments abroad.

Entering in the Egyptian capital of VimpelCom only complicated the conflict between the two largest shareholders of the operator - Telenor and "Alpha-Group". As a result, the billionaire had to gradually sell its shares to the two opponents VimpelCom. By 2012 he had earned more than $ 4 billion on the sale of their shares. The risk of being caught up in the conflict was too big for the pragmatic billionaire.

As noted by "Vedomosti", the former in 2003-2009 head of "VimpelCom" and then international Vimpelsom Alexander Izosimov called Sawiris manager involved in business management. In person, he described him as "an open and friendly."

Investor in North Korea

In 2008, Orascom launched in North Korea, the first in this closed country, 3G mobile network operator and Internet Koryolink. By September 2014 the number of its subscribers reached 2.4 million people. The company is 75% owned by Orascom, and the remaining shares owned by the state Korean company Korea Post & Telecoms Corporation. Financial indicators of the company were not disclosed, but at the end of September 2013 Deloitte report showed that Koryolink assets reached $ 512 million.

The revolutionary alarm

Sawiris - unlike their younger brothers and his father - never shy of attention of the local and international press. He was a regular at the Cairo club life, by his own admission, have fun going to the city three or four times a week. But really his life changed after the beginning of the revolution. Since the Egyptians themselves called the mass protests in Tahrir Square, which began in 2011 and then led to the overthrow of the Mubarak regime. Sawiris entered in the "Council of Elders", who tried to organize the transfer of power from the incumbent president to the revolutionaries. Employees satellite TV billionaire in the early stages of bringing water demonstrators, food, blankets, and regularly broadcast events of the "Arab Spring".

Unlike other Egyptian businessmen who have suffered under the rule of the Islamist movement "Muslim Brotherhood", which briefly took powerAfter Mubarak's ouster, Sawiris family managed to keep most of their assets. Onsi Nasefu and briefly had to leave Egypt. In the end, the tax claims of the Government of President-Islamist Mohammed Mursi to family companies have been settled - Sawiris paid $ 1.02 billion.

God-fearing Egyptians

Despite the removal of tax claims, and relationships Sawiris Islamists were doomed from the start. Back in 2007, he publicly criticized the wearing of the niqab - a piece of clothing that hides the woman's face. "I feel like a foreigner in his own country," - he said at the time. Islamic clerics criticized the rhetoric of a businessman, but he continued to perform with sharp anti-Islamic speeches.

In 2011, Egyptian posted on his Twitter account a picture with Mickey Mouse and his companion Minnie. Mickey had a beard and Minnie have been covered, as prescribed Adab. Mice in Islam are considered unclean animals. Mufti called for a boycott of the companies included in the of Orascom, and a wave of public outrage was sostrong that Sawiris had to apologize.

The businessman does not hide that he believed in God. In an interview, he admitted that for a trip to Iraq, which he performs regularly require "strong faith". This belief gives him courage. For example, he personally negotiated with the kidnappers of its employees in Iraq and has always paid a ransom. According to him, this is the best - the most secure and pragmatic - the way of salvation.

Cautious supporter of al-Sisi

Who manages Sawiris Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, which has absorbed the assets, which are not included in the perimeter of the transaction with VimpelCom. He has spoken with investment initiatives in Egypt considerable funds. In particular, he expressed readiness to invest in the country's economy up to $ 500 million in March this year.

However, while on active operations, he does not dare. The reason for that - excessive government regulation, including the financial market. In May of this year dedicated to this topic Sawiris column in the English-language edition of the Daily News Egypt. Having criticized the Egyptian government in it, it is silent about the president of Egypt - Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
Ever since he came to power Sawiris expressed support for al-Sisi, hoping that his rule will stabilize Egypt and attract international investors. This support was all the more valuable that many of the Sawiris Egyptian liberals and opponents of the "Muslim Brotherhood" have seen the new head of state. However, the party, which he supported, never gained a significant number of votes, indicating the absence of Egypt wide demand for a secular, liberal market regime.

True to his desire to invest in a "new", this spring he announced the investment in the construction of solar power plants in Egypt. Its capacity will be 50 MW. Sawiris is likely even surprise their opponents. This pleasant to talk to a man who loves the risk, do not forget quickly their grievances. "I am a native from the south. In the south, if you killed my family members, I will kill ten of your relatives. Everything is based on revenge, "- he said in an interview with Reuters in 2015.

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