Home » Orascom founder, billionaire patriarch of Egypt’s Sawiris family dies at 91

Orascom founder, billionaire patriarch of Egypt’s Sawiris family dies at 91

by Ishioma Emi

Onsi Sawiris, the billionaire patriarch of Egypt’s wealthiest family and the founder of Orascom Construction, has died. He passed away on June 29 at the age of 91. 

In 2017, Sawiris’ net worth was estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Forbes.

The late business magnate was father to the billionaires Naguib, Nassef and Samih Sawiris. His sons run the construction, tourism, telecom, technology and industrial wings of their father’s conglomerate.

In 1950, Sawiris established Orascom Construction in Egypt. The company now owns and operates cement plants in Egypt, Algeria, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, North Korea and Spain, with a combined annual production capacity of 21 million tonnes. 

In September 2012, Orascom Construction expanded in the United States by building a nitrogen fertilizer plant in Iowa and buying out The Weitz Company. 

The following year, the Bill Gates-led Cascade Investment invested $1 billion in Orascom Construction. Following this investment, the Netherlands-based OCI N.V. was established.

OCI N.V. became the parent company of Orascom Construction.

Orascom Construction, which trades on the Dubai Financial Market and Egyptian Exchange, recently signed a deal through Fertiglobe, a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi state-run ADNOC, to partake in building a blue ammonia mega-project.

Additionally, La Mancha Holdings, a gold miner solely controlled by the Sawiris family, recently debuted on the London Stock Exchange through its 19-percent stake in Endeavour. 

Onsi was the chairman of Orascom Construction, Orascom Trading and Orascom Technology Solutions. He was also a member of the board of Global Telecom Holding S.A.E. and Orascom Hotels. He chaired Chartis Egypt Insurance, the Young Men Christians Association in Cairo and the Egyptian Scandinavian Businessmen Association.

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