Egyptian Steel CEO: Investing during tough times is the right thing to do
Ahmed Abou Hashima explains how continuing to invest through Egypt's 2011 revolution won him 20 percent of the country's steel sector
Ahmed Abou Hashima is CEO and Chairman of Egyptian Steel, which he co-founded in 2010. By continuing to invest in the business through Egypt’s 2011 revolution, he has grown the company into one of the most important – and sustainable – steel manufacturers in the country. He explains the growth of Egyptian Steel, and the foundation of his new buildings material complex. This video is mostly in Arabic with English subtitles.
World Finance: Talk me through the growth of Egyptian Steel.
Ahmed Abou Hashima: Egyptian Steel was established in 2010, before the revolution. After the revolution everyone expected that we would halt our operations. But I persisted. I had faith in my country, and I believed in what I was doing; and that the right decision is to invest during rough times.
Now we have 4 steel plants, producing 2.3 million tons of steel annually. We chose a prime location for each: Port Said, Al Ain Al Sokhna, Alexandria and Beni Sueif. They’re also equipped with the latest of the latest technologies. I’m proud of what we achieved. We reached this level during a time where no one else was investing. The future is ours, and I never regretted investing during this time.
World Finance: Most recently you’ve been creating a building materials complex, to act as a one-stop shop for the construction industry.
Ahmed Abou Hashima: Yes, now we have Egyptian Cement and Egyptian Building Materials. I want to adopt this new approach to have the industries of all building materials under one roof. The contractor of the construction company can buy everything from us: cement, steel, blocks, lime, gypsum, everything.
I see this as a new model, probably not available elsewhere in the world, where your shareholders have all these industries within the same group. This is a new ideology, and it reduces the risk: if one company makes gains and the other doesn’t, they complete each other.
By the end of 2018, this whole dream will be realised, as the cement factory and the seven factories of the building materials complex will be complete and operational by the end of next year; or by the beginning of 2019 at the latest.
World Finance: And what other expansions or projects are there in the pipeline?
Ahmed Abou Hashima: I am always keeping an eye on new business fields that we can venture into. For example, we are interested in hotels, since in my opinion tourism is the fastest method to regain the strength of our economy, because this is hot money entering directly.
Any other opportunities that arise in Egypt will be of interest to me. I believe in this country and its market, which I invite all investors globally to consider. Egypt has a high demand and potential in so many fields. It can reach a high economic growth rate in a very short time. I invite them to enter this market with no fear.
Egypt promises that the return on their investments will be very high; and I’m saying this out of my first-hand experience in investing in Egypt. I invested during a very rough time, right before the first revolution; then a second revolution happened. Now the atmosphere is much more stable on both the political and economic fronts. I’m not from the government, I’m from the private sector; and I’m telling them to come to Egypt, have no worries: you will make good money with a very decent ROI.
World Finance: Ahmed, thank you very much. Shukran.
Ahmed Abou Hashima: Thank you Paul, thank you.