Egypt’s richest man Nassef Sawiris’ stake in OCI N.V., a leading global producer and distributor of nitrogen and methanol products, has recently risen above the $3-billion valuation mark, making it his most valuable asset.
As of press time, April 19, the market value of the Egyptian billionaire’s 38.8-percent stake in OCI N.V. is valued at $3.1 billion, while his stake in German sportswear behemoth Adidas is valued at $2.59 billion.
Since revealing in 2015 that he had obtained a six-percent stake in Adidas AG, one of the world’s largest sportswear manufacturers, the Egyptian billionaire’s stake in the behemoth has been his most valuable asset, until recently, when his investment in OCI N.V. returned impressive gains and offset losses from his stake in Adidas AG.
The recent increase in his stake in OCI N.V. above the market value of his stake in Adidas can be attributed to a 65-percent increase in the share price of the Dutch fertilizer company since the start of the year, whereas Adidas’ share price has declined by more than 23 percent so far.
The recent move comes as no surprise, as shares of fertilizer companies have been in high demand as a result of the commodity boom, especially since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
According to reports, the prices of major nutrients have been rising for several months due to supply shortages and high energy prices, resulting in a surge in the stock price of fertilizer companies, all of which have increased the output of their urea manufacturing units beyond installed capacity in order to meet the shortfall caused by sanctions imposed on Russia.
Sawiris’ ability to amass a $3.1-billion fortune from his 38.8-percent stake in the Netherlands-based fertilizer producer, OCI N.V., is a success story that exemplifies resilience, hard work and patience.
After graduating from the University of Chicago with a degree in economics in 1982, the leading businessman rejoined his father and two older brothers at OCI N.V., which by that time had diversified into communications and real estate.
Several years later, Sawiris led the acquisition of the Egyptian Fertilizer Company, which marked the family business’ expansion into the fertilizer market. This was followed by a demerger from his family’s original business, Orascom Construction.
A consortium of investors led by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates invested $1 billion in OCI N.V. in January 2013 to assist the Sawiris family in transferring the company’s listing from the Cairo Stock Exchange to NYSE Euronext Amsterdam.
Fertiglobe, a 58-42 percent partnership between OCI N.V. and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), successfully listed its shares on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) six months ago, becoming the first free zone company traded on an onshore bourse in the UAE and the ADX’s third-largest-ever listing.
At the time of the listing, Fertiglobe’s market capitalization was assessed at $5.8 billion.
Fertiglobe is the world’s largest urea and ammonia seaborne exporter, as well as the Middle East and North Africa’s largest nitrogen fertilizer producer, with a production capacity of 6.7 million tonnes of urea and merchant ammonia through four subsidiaries in the UAE, Egypt and Algeria.