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Wed 10 Dec 2008 07:13 PM

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Rich List-The Sawiris Family

Rich List-The Sawiris Family

Onsi Sawiris always says that the greatest investment he ever made were his sons, who, after coming home from studying abroad, took over the leadership of Egypt’s Orascom conglomerate and expanded its operations into three major sectors – construction, telecommunications and tourism.

Onsi is in retirement mode these days, but does spend plenty of time talking business with his sons.

It’s been a tough year for Orascom Telecom, the biggest mobile phone company in the Middle East, led by son Naguib Sawiris. The stock is down almost 80 percent in the year-to-date, which the firm attributed to poor revenue performance from its operations in Pakistan.

Last month the firm sold part of its business to a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Company which paid $180m for OrasInvest, a company that provides technical and managerial support services to mobile networks in the Middle East and Asia.

The sale of OrasInvest bought much needed cash to the company but failed to stop a tide of selling in firm’s stock that has pushed the company’s valuation down 77 percent his year.

In Pakistan, once a major growth engine for the business, political and economic turmoil threatens the future of its Mobilink network.

In September the firm’s chief financial officer, Tarek Foudah, died in the bombing of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel.

In statements that accompany the third quarter profits Orascom said it was reconsidering its future investment plan in the Pakistani market.

The firm along with its joint venture partner, Telecom Egypt, has also pulled out of their newly established fixed-line business, claiming that unfair government practices favour the state-owned Algerié Telecom.

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