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Sawiris family moves to expand further in Egypt’s gold sector

A deal between AKH Gold and Egypt’s Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ministry will increase the Sawiris’ stake in the gold sector.



Illustration. ©Billionaires.Africa

A recent deal between AKH Gold and Egypt’s Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ministry will increase the Sawiris family’s stake in the country’s gold sector. The deal licenses AKH Gold, an affiliate of the Sawiris, to excavate gold in the Eastern Desert.

The newly signed contracts will have AKH Gold investing a total of about $4.1 million, Arab News cited the ministry as saying.

In making the move, the Sawiris family is looking to become a major gold player in the country and across the continent. 

Egypt’s gold sector

Egypt’s gold exists in the Eastern Desert, with production on Sukari Mountain and in Hamash and Wadi al-Alaqi. 

The Eastern Desert’s estimated potential gold reserve stands above 300 tons, African Mining Market revealed. Hence, over the years, Egypt has made efforts to attract investors to unearth the mineral, aiming to become a leading global producer. However, most miners have taken issue with the country’s Mineral Wealth Law. 

Investors have long complained that country’s system of mandatory joint ventures, stiff royalties and profit-sharing agreements make it unprofitable to explore for and exploit minerals, Reuters reported. Nonetheless, the government issued new regulations that appear to eliminate a bulk of these concerns in January 2020.

Mubasher recently reported that the country’s gold reserves have continued to decline for the third month in a row, sliding by $456 million in the first quarter of 2021 from $4.39 billion at the close of 2020. The pressure on the country’s gold sector came as a result of a sharp drop in demand that has triggered losses in the global gold sector.

Sawiris’ stake in West African gold mines

In March, the Sawiris family’s La Mancha Holdings announced an investment in a multinational miner, Endeavour Mining Corporation (Endeavor), worth 200-million Canadian dollars ($159 million). 

Before that time, Endeavour acquired the Canada-based gold company Teranga Gold for 2 billion Canadian dollars ($1.9 billion) in 2020. Teranga Gold bought several gold mines such as Sabodala, a large-scale gold mine located in the West African Birimian geological belt, and the Massawa mines in Senegal.

The acquisition positioned Endeavour as West Africa’s leading gold producer, with an annual production capacity of about 1.5 million ounces. La Mancha’s investments in Endeavour amount to 8,910,592 common shares, thus securing its stake in West African gold mines.

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Nassef Sawiris’ Orascom Construction adds new projects worth $785 million in Q4 2021

Orascom Construction is a leading global engineering and construction contractor founded by the late Egyptian industrialist Onsi Sawiris.



Nassef Sawiris.

Egyptian engineering and construction contractor, Orascom Construction Plc, has added new projects worth $785 million to its backlog of active construction works in Q4 2021.

According to a press statement issued by the leading construction group, the new projects raised the total number of awards linked to the group by 22 percent to $3.5 billion in 2021.

A breakdown of the figure revealed that projects in the Middle East comprised 55 percent of the new awards for the period., including transportation and power projects in Egypt and water projects in Egypt and Tunisia.

Outside the Middle East, new awards in the United States accounted for 45 percent of the total additions in the quarter, and this was driven by new projects in the commercial sector.

As of Dec. 30, 2021, the estimated consolidated backlog stood at $6.1 billion. This is $100-million higher than its figure for Q3 2021.

The new projects added in Q4 2021 lagged behind the volume of new awards added in Q3 2021, which amounted to $962.4 million thanks to Orascom signing a deal to build Egypt’s first high-speed rail system, as well as sizeable contracts in the student housing sector in the United States.

Orascom Construction is a leading global engineering and construction contractor founded by the late Egyptian industrialist Onsi Sawiris, who died on June 29 at 91.

The billionaire Sawiris family holds a 51.8-percent stake in the Egypt-based contractor through OS Private Trust Company, while Egypt’s wealthiest man Nassef Sawiris owns a 28.97-percent stake in the group, amounting to 33,825,323 ordinary shares.

As of press time, Jan. 18, shares in the group were trading at EGP76 ($4.829) per share. This is 1.23-percent higher than their opening price on the Egyptian Stock Exchange this morning.

At this price, the company’s market capitalization is EGP8.87 billion ($563.9 million).

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Tunisian tycoon Moncef Mzabi gains over $1.4 million from stake in automobile retailer

Mzabi, who started ARTES with his brothers Mzoughi and Sadok, holds a substantial 24.8-percent stake in the company. 



Moncef Mzabi.

A new wave of investor buying interest on the Bienvenue sur Bourse de Tunis (Tunis Stock Exchange) has seen Tunisian automobile tycoon Moncef Mzabi record impressive gains from his shareholding in Automobile Reseau Tunisien and Services SA (ARTES).

ARTES is a Tunisia-based automobile retailer.

Mzabi, who started ARTES with his brothers Mzoughi and Sadok following the acquisition of Renault Tunisie in 1997, holds a substantial 24.8-percent stake in the company. 

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that the market value of his stake has risen by TND4.08 million ($1.43 million) in the past 21 days.

As of press time, Jan. 18, shares in ARTES on the local bourse were trading at TND6.43 ($2.247), 1.08-percent lower than their opening price on the local bourse this morning.

Since Dec. 27, 2021, the company’s share price has increased from TND6 ($2.1) to TND6.43 ($2.247) as of the time of the drafting of this report, as investors sustained buying interest in the automobile retailer ahead of its 2021 financial statement.

In the past 21 days, the price surge in ARTES shares has accrued a 7.17-percent gain for shareholders. This pushed the market capitalization above the TND245.9-million ($85.9 million) mark.

As a result of the price bump, the market value of Mzabi’s 24.8-percent stake has expanded from TND56.92 million ($19.89 million) on Dec. 27, 2021 to TND61 million ($21.31 million) as of the time of the drafting of this report.

The $1.43-million value surge in his shareholding in the past 21 days cements his position as one of the wealthiest investors on the Tunis Stock Exchange.

In 2021, Mzabi saw his equity position surge by TND19.73 million ($6.9 million) thanks to a $50.7-percent increase in the company’s shares for the year.

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Egyptian tech entrepreneur Hossam Taher’s Orcas raises $2.1 million from investors

Orcas is an Egyptian live learning ed-tech startup with active operations in the Middle East and North Africa.



Hossam Taher.

Cairo-based ed-tech startup, Orcas, has secured $2.1 million in a funding round led by institutional investors, as it prepares to unlock increased value through its live learning capabilities for schools and teachers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Orcas is an Egyptian live learning ed-tech startup with active operations in the Middle East and North Africa.

The startup was co-founded in 2019 by Egyptian tech entrepreneurs Hossam Taher and Amira El Gharib to offer online and in-person tutoring and courses for students, as well as personalized learning plans, learning-style assessments and practice assignments.

Its recently completed pre-Series-A funding round was co-led by CIRA’s NFX Ventures and Access Bridge Ventures.

The round saw participation from leading Egyptian tech VC firm, Algebra Ventures, as well as Launch Africa Ventures, a pan-African VC fund looking to resolve the significant funding gap in the seed and pre-Series A investment landscape for African startups.

Orcas noted that the $2.1-million capital injection will be deployed to develop its technology, hire new talent and expand into new markets in the Middle East and North Africa, as its technology needs to be customizable and also scalable to smoothly operate in different markets.

In line with its growth and expansion strategy, the ed-tech startup is on course to kickstart operations in Pakistan in early 2022. It is also looking to expand into Saudi Arabia in the current year, as it prepares to create increased value through its integrated learning platform and its product offerings.

Orcas CEO Hossam Taher said: “Learners today have different needs that ed-tech companies must cater to. For that reason, we have evolved into a learning platform that offers the complete spectrum of teacher-led and self-paced learning environments.”

While commenting on the capital injection, Taher said it will place Orcas in the right position to continue building its tech product, attract talent and expand into new geographies in MENAP.

Aly El Shalakany, CEO of the Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund, one of Orcas’ investors, said: “We are very proud of Orcas’ performance so far, and we are confident that with this latest investment they will continue to be market leaders within the space and will now be able to add more exciting educational solutions using cutting edge technology and to bring these products to new markets.”

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