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Suez Canal Authority’s $916-million demands unrealistic: Naguib Sawiris

The Egyptian billionaire said the authority’s demands contradict national interests.

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Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris.

Egyptian billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris said the compensation demanded by Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) is exaggerated and unrealistic.

He made his sentiments known on Twitter, adding that the requested compensation is not in line with the country’s national interests.

Naguib’s reaction follows earlier reports that Ever Given, a 200,000-tonne giant vessel that ran aground months ago, was “seized” by the canal authorities on court order until its owners paid $916 million.

The court order was backed by Article 59 and 60 of Egypt’s Maritime Trade Law, which stipulates that the ship must remain seized until compensation is paid in full to the SCA.

Global analysts and trade strategists believe the parties related to the conflict might seek retribution in international court in what will likely be complex and protracted cases.

Possibly in reaction to these opinions, the SCA reduced the compensation claims last Friday from  $916 million to $600 million, Egypt Today reported.

It is worth noting that in addition to the compensation sought as damages by the SCA due to the ship’s grounding, the vessel created a blockage disrupting already strained global trade. A total of $9.6 billion in cargo was held up each day it remained stuck.

Suez Canal accounts for about 12 percent of international trade and 30 percent of global container ship traffic daily. The Ever Given’s grounding led to a logjam*, with about 450 ships unable to access the canal.

The blockage made other ships opt for a long and more expensive trip around the southern tip of Africa instead of through the canal, thus leading to increased costs.

In addition to the economic losses resulting from the logjam, the SCA revealed that the authority lost about $15 million in revenue each day that the waterway was closed.

*Logjam: A blockage that denies ships access to a particular route.

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Egyptian billionaire Yasseen Mansour gains $1.86 million in 74 days from Palm Hills stake

Mansou owns a sizable 5.6-percent stake in the Cairo-based real estate firm.

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Egyptian billionaire Yasseen Mansour. ©Billionaires.Africa

Egyptian billionaire Yasseen Mansour has recorded a EGP35.6-million ($1.86 million) boost in his net worth in the past 74 days, as shares in Palm Hills Development increased by nearly 19 percent in reaction to the company’s recently released first-quarter results.

Palm Hills Development, an operating subsidiary of Egypt’s largest conglomerate, Mansour Group, is a well-known real estate developer with active investments in Egypt. The company develops integrated residential, commercial, and resort communities.

Mansour, the chairman of Palm Hills Development and one of Egypt’s and Africa’s wealthiest individuals, owns a sizable 5.6-percent stake in the Cairo-based real estate firm.

The Egyptian real estate developer revealed that its profit increased by more than 40 percent in the first quarter of 2022, from EGP217.4 million ($11.36 million) in the first quarter of 2021 to EGP305.8 million ($16 million), owing to sustained growth in demand for properties in Egypt.

As a result of the firm’s strong financial performance, investors on the Egyptian Stock Exchange increased their buying interest in Palm Hills shares, resulting in an 18.6-percent increase in the firm’s stock price from EGP1.13 ($0.059) on June 1 to EGP1.34 ($0.07) on Aug. 14.

Mansour’s 5.6-percent stake in Palm Hills Development has increased in value over the past 74 days, from EGP191.94 million ($10 million) to EGP227.6 million ($11.89 million) at the time of writing.

This equates to a total gain of EGP35.6 million ($1.86 million) for the Egyptian billionaire, who ranks as one of the wealthiest men on the African continent, alongside his brothers Mohamed Mansour and Youssef Mansour, both of whom own Mansour Group and Palm Hills Development.

His net worth is estimated at $1.1 billion, making him one of Africa’s wealthiest businessmen.

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Led by Egyptian Khamis family, Oriental Weavers set to withdraw investments from China

Oriental Weavers operates under the leadership of Egyptian businesswoman Yasmine Mohamed Farid Khamis.

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Yasmine Mohamed Farid Khamis.

The board of directors of Oriental Weavers has decided to withdraw its investments in China as the management implements measures to maximize earnings and revenues in line with its strategic growth roadmap. 

Operating under the leadership of Egyptian businesswoman Yasmine Mohamed Farid Khamis and other family members of the late Mohammed Farid Khamis, Oriental Weavers is a leading carpet manufacturer and distributor with active operations in about 150 countries worldwide.

According to the plan to withdraw its investments from China, the company declared that it will accept already made offers to buy out its stake in Oriental Weavers China, and further information will be released after the deal has been completed.

Through this decision, the company will sell its Chinese manufacturing facilities, Oriental Weavers (Tianjin) Company Limited (Oriental Weavers China), to local investors.

The decision to withdraw its investments in Mainland China was made almost eight months after the company’s board gave the management permission to study the situation and decide whether to sell or liquidate Oriental Weavers China.

Oriental Weavers’ exit from China will be crucial to lowering operating costs as it seeks to cut ties with the Asian economy as a result of brewing regulatory tensions in China and escalating trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

According to Yasmine Al-Gohary, Oriental Weavers’ investor relations manager, the decision to withdraw its investments from China can be attributed to the high operating costs in the country, particularly following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

According to Al-Gohary, the operations in China, which make up just 0.3 percent of the group’s total assets and only contribute one percent of its revenue, were also impacted by the frequent factory closures and shortening of working hours.

Al-Gohary added that the business also intended to invest $10 million this year to place itself on the path of growth and increase its production capacity to keep up with market demand.

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Tunisian mogul Aziz Mebarek-led AfricInvest leads $8.2-million investment in fintech player, Bizao

Africinvest has raised more than $1.9 billion and invested in over 170 businesses in 25 African countries since its inception.

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Aziz Mebarek.

Bizao, a fintech company with active operations in more than 10 African countries, has received $8.2 million (€8 million) in a Series-A funding round led by AfricInvest, as it prepares to expand its operations in North Africa.

AfricInvest is a leading investment firm co-founded by multimillionaire Tunisian businessmen Aziz Mebarek and Ziad Oueslati, which focuses on long-term growth and business improvements rather than short-term developments.

The $8.2-million capital injection secured by Bizao, a Paris-based payment services provider, will be used to accelerate operations throughout the continent and invest in developing new products and services.

“This round of financing will enable us to design new product lines for high-potential vertically integrated organizations, expand in new markets, and grow the team across all our offices,” Bizao Founder and CEO Aurelien Duval-Delort said.

The news comes not long after AfricInvest closed its €110-million ($112 million) pan-African venture fund in collaboration with the French venture capital firm Cathay Innovation.

The $112-million Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund (will be used to support startups and help them break even faster and further innovate to improve the lives of Africans.

The initial check size from the fund will range from €1 million ($1.02 million) to €10 million ($10.2 million) for growth-stage startups and up to €1 million ($1.02 million) for early-stage startups in a variety of industries, including fintech, mobility, health tech, edtech, AI, digital content, and ag-tech, according to executives at the investment firm.

Founded in 1994 by Mebarek and Oueslati as a long-term private equity firm, Africinvest has raised more than $1.9 billion and invested in over 170 businesses in 25 African countries since its inception.

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