Home » Orascom, owned by Egypt’s richest family, to modernize Cairo-Beni Suef rail route

Orascom, owned by Egypt’s richest family, to modernize Cairo-Beni Suef rail route

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Nassef Sawiris

Orascom Construction, the Cairo-based construction giant controlled by Egypt’s wealthiest family, the Sawiris family, in collaboration with global technology leader Thales, has inked a deal with Egyptian National Railways (ENR) to undertake a comprehensive modernization and upgrade of the Cairo-Beni Suef railway corridor.

The ambitious project, boasting a total contract value of €340 million ($366 million), is set to usher in a new era for one of Egypt’s crucial rail routes. Funding for this transformational initiative will be provided by the World Bank, as part of a broader effort to strengthen Egypt’s transportation infrastructure.

The Thales-Orascom Construction consortium will undertake the extensive task of modernizing signaling and telecommunications systems and renewing the track within this specific corridor. Their responsibilities encompass design, supply, construction, testing, and commissioning. Furthermore, the agreement includes provisions for spare parts, training, documentation, guarantees with maintenance services, tracks, and civil works.

This collaboration between Orascom Construction and Thales solidifies their longstanding partnership, which has already yielded successful projects such as the Greater Cairo Metro and other ventures in the pipeline. It underscores Orascom Construction’s pivotal role in Egypt’s transportation sector and its unwavering commitment to essential national projects.

Orascom Construction is an engineering and construction contractor with a primary focus on infrastructure, industrial, and high-end commercial projects across the Middle East, Africa, and the United States. The company also engages in concession development, owns 50 percent of the BESIX Group, and manages a diverse portfolio of building materials, facility management, and equipment services.

Founded in 1950 by the late Egyptian businessman Onsi Sawiris, the company is led by the Sawiris family, which holds a 51.8-percent stake through their private investment firm, OS Private Trust Company. Nassef Sawiris, one of Onsi’s sons and Egypt’s wealthiest individual, owns a 28.97 percent ownership stake, reinforcing the family’s significant influence within the organization.

In recently published financial results, the group reported a remarkable year-on-year surge in net income attributable to shareholders for Q2 2023, totaling $61.8 million. This increase was driven by divestment gains and favorable foreign currency fluctuations.

Excluding extraordinary items, net income for the quarter stood at $20.8 million, surpassing analysts’ mean estimate of $16 million, as calculated by data provider Refinitiv. Consolidated revenue for the period amounted to $758.6 million, reflecting a 19-percent year-on-year decrease.

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