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contents 3

Overview

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The Egyptian economy is on a roll 6

Aly El-Tahry urges “Innovation and Aggression” as the recipe for sustaining prosperity

Multi-Billion-Dollar Jewel of the Red Sea Nasser Al-Kharafi’s vision materialized at Port Ghalib

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No Reason to Rest on our Laurels

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A Market Leader in Mortgage Finance Housing and Development Bank's extraordinary growth signals the potential of the nascent Egyptian mortgage finance market

A Breath of Fresh Air for Egyptian Real Estate SODIC provides a healthier lifestyle for Egypt's growing middle class 39

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Real Estate Powerhouses Address Local Challenges

The bank expects strong growth in retail banking, plans a strong expansion of its branch network and sees big potential in mortgage finance

Orascom Hotels & Development and Talaat Moustafa Group discover the middle-income market 40 13

Leveraging Local Expertise with Regional Establishment The Vantage Point of Mountain View

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An innovative player in Egypt's real estate market sets a new standard of luxury living - and the way it is marketed 19

Synergy, Elegance and World Class Excellence

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Delivering Real Estate Business with a Financial Twist Naeem Holding is introducing Egypt's first financial product with an underlying real estate asset strategy behind it

Cityscape Predicts Rapid Egyptian Growth Participation from Egyptian Companies in the event is expected to double

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Building a New Focus Neveen El Tahri sees the potential in partially shifting focus from a traditional European client base to collaborating more with the Arab world

The evolution of Nile City, Cairo's top office community 20

Providing the Link Export Development Bank of Egypt looks to bring Egyptian industry to the forefront of the Arab world

Dorra Group capitalizes on its presence in the Gulf 16

BNP Paribas Leverages on its Global and Regional Presence

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BLOM Bank's Tradition of Success is Set to Continue in Egypt In little more than a year since its entrance into the Egyptian market, BLOM Bank has delivered strong results

A Dream-Like Location for a Dream-Like Development Khaled Shaheen chooses Egypt for developing the Serrenia project 47

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Building the Foundations of Egypt's Success Samcrete aims to satisfy the most demanding requirements of foreign developers

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The United Bank is a new force in Egypt's banking sector 48

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EFG Hermes Continues as Leading Regional Investment Bank After a transformational year in 2006, EFG Hermes moves forward with tremendous momentum

Regulating for Change The Mortgage Finance Authority leads the transformation of an industry that could change the foundations of Egypt's economy

Celebrating Over 30 Years of Remarkable Growth National Bank of Abu Dhabi strives to be the number one foreign bank in Egypt

Combining Innovation with Integration Al-Moez Group continually looks to integrate its various activities by thinking one step ahead

A Restructuring That Pays Dividends

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Creating a Home Away from Home Zoheir Garranah discusses residential tourism in Egypt, and more

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Al Ahly Real Estate Embraces Opportunities in the Gulf The strategic role of the GCC region in the company's plans is today stronger than ever

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How Gulf Investors are Bringing Real Power to the People

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The Shepheard Hotel is well positioned to maintain its luster well into the future

Amlak Finance, the largest publicly listed Islamic home finance company, launches its operations in Egypt

Creating a Paradise for Tourists and Residents Alike

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Raising the Bar Boom Times Ahead

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Taher Helmy discusses the causes of Egypt's recent economic boom and its sustainability 34

Egyptian Gulf Bank Looks Forward to Bright Future Prospects With a new CEO and strategic plan in the making, this bank is set to profit from Egypt's banking reforms

Sponsored by

When Business and Pleasure Intertwine The Sheraton Cairo Hotel, Towers and Casino, blends luxurious comfort and top business facilities

Dar Al Handasah continues to thrive on a tough competitive environment 32

Off to a Strong Start Direct Travel's enters the car-rental market in Egypt - and plans to contribute to its transformation

Mena for Touristic and Real Estate Investment Sets the Trend from the North Coast to Cairo 31

Rolling out the Red Carpet Cairo's Top Hotel Managers Share their Views

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Delivering 21st Century Hospitality with Historical Flair

Taking Cairo's Charm to a New Level Mohamed Elayouty aims to take the boutique hotel concept from Cairo to the rest of Egypt

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Sharm El Sheikh: The City of Peace The top hoteliers of Sharm El Sheikh discuss their role in creating the ultimate sea-resort experience

Special thanks to 1


In a recent article, Peter A. Carrigan, columnist of the Daily Star, states that “Egypt is hot,” referring to the buzz and fascination that surrounds anything related to the country's immensely rich cultural heritage, and its attractiveness for tourism. While the author was referring mainly to the perception of Egypt among Londoners, it could safely be said that this perception is shared by the people living in virtually every other metropolis across the world–and prominently among them, by business leaders from the Gulf. The main reason for this is the economic resurgence that Egypt embarked upon since the cabinet led by Prime Minster Ahmed Nazif took power in 2004, implementing a package of economic reforms the results of which are starting to show prominently in almost every indicator of economic activity, specially during 2006 and the beginning of 2007–periods that saw record-braking performance in key macroeconomic figures. For Who's Who Egypt 2007, we had the pleasure to interview some of the most important leaders in three of the hottest sectors of the Egyptian economy–real estate, finance and tourism. What follows is a collection of articles that summarize their views and insights on these sectors' performance, potential for growth, impact on the overall economy, eagerness to partner with investors and serve customers from the Gulf, and key challenges to address in the years to come. We have no doubt that these are exciting times for Egypt, and that the country's business leaders have what it takes to sustain the strong economic growth of today, help translate it into widespread socio-economic benefits for the Egyptian people at large, and strengthening the country's competitiveness in the global economy.

Olga Arndt Project Director FOCUS International

Project Director: Olga Arndt e-mail: olga.arndt@focusinternational.com Editor and Contributing Writer: Alan Furth e-mail: alan.furth@focusinternational.com Burjuman Tower, 18th floor P.O. Box 43659, Dubai, U.A.E. Tel: + 971 (0) 4 509 6690 Fax: + 971 (0) 4 509 6797

Contributing Writers: Julie-Ann Amos Alison Gjefle Tim Hiscock Design: Javier Dumont

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Overview The Egyptian economy is on a roll. In Who's Who Egypt 2007, FOCUS International talks to key people in the real estate, tourism and finance sectors–all of them at the heart of Egypt's economic resurgence

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006 was a record-breaking year for Egypt's economy. A host of key macroeconomic indicators showed significant improvements: economic growth exceeded the 7 percent mark–a figure unsurpassed since the late 1980s. Key drivers of the economy were a 33 percent growth in exports and 13 percent growth in personal consumer expenditure in FY 2006, while FDI exceeded US$ 6 billion in 2006, and touched US$ 7.2 billion during the first half of FY 2007. This was more than double the US$ 3.3 billion it achieved during the same period last year, and the government expects it to exceed US$ 8 billion in 2007. The oil and gas sectors experienced burgeoning growth driven by strong global demand, while non-oil exports grew more than 30

percent during 2006. This strong economic growth brought increased income to Egypt's consumers, and some analysts predict consumer spending will grow steadily through to 2011. “We must be doing something right,” said Taher Helmy, President of the American Chamber of Commerce, who firmly believes the economic reform agenda carried out by Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif's Cabinet is largely responsible for these remarkable economic results, in a much larger measure than the favorable external environment that has driven Egypt's recovery since 2003. The most encouraging aspect of the sharp rise of FDI during 2006 is the diversity of the economic sectors in which it has occurred, with only 30 per-

cent of it in oil and gas (down from 80 percent in previous years). Economic headlines during 2006 were dominated

FDI Exceeded US$ 6 billion in 2006 by the announcement of a string of stellar deals that clearly show an increase in investors' appetite for Egyptian assets across the globe. Helmy elaborates: “Investment is pouring into Egypt from all over the world; from the US to the Gulf, from Europe to India and China. In 2006 we had great success stories like Gruppo Sanpaolo IMI buying 80 percent of the Bank of Alexandria for US$ 1.6 bil-

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

lion, nearly six times its estimated book value, and Amoun Pharmaceuticals selling a 93 percent stake to a consortium of international private equity investors for almost half a billion USD - one of the largest private equity transactions in Egyptian history. This diversity of sources and targets of FDI is noteworthy, and in my opinion, shows that Egypt is doing a good job earning the trust of the global business community.” Egypt and the Gulf Gulf investors were particularly enthusiastic about Egypt during 2006. Etisalat won the bid for operating the country's third mobile phone license, Dr. Youssef Boutros Ghali, Minister of FInance, answering questions at the Arab Strategy Forum in Dubai

paying a whopping US$ 2.9 billion for it, almost 70 percent higher than expected, and 17.6 percent higher than the second highest offer from another Gulf giant, Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Company. At a press conference immediately after the auction, Etisalat's CEO, Mohammad Omran, said that “this was no small sum, but Egypt is a key market where there is great potential for growth.” The real estate market in Egypt saw strong growth for the third consecutive year, and again, Gulf investors were particularly eager to take advantage of it. During the summer of 2006, Emaar won the bid for developing a year-round tourist destination at Sidi Abdel Rahman on the North Coast, to be known as “Marassi.” This development complements a portfolio of projects that, 4

with a value of almost US$ 4 billion, makes Emaar the largest foreign investor in Egypt (at the time of writing, Emaar had acquired full ownership of its Egyptian operations after long negotiations with its local partner, Artoc Group for Investment and Development.) Damac joined the party by announcing its “Gamsha Bay” project, a fully integrated development 60 km north of Hurghada, in which the firm will commit several billion USD during the course of the next ten years. The Kharafi Group's Port Ghalib at Marsa Alam, a project that has already become a benchmark in tourism development in Egypt, enjoyed significant progress during 2006. The Marsa Alam International Airport (also owned by the Kharafi Group) is currently undergoing an aggressive expansion plan, originally scheduled for 2011, in response to the large numbers of visitors that Port Ghalib is attracting to the area. Egyptian developers have been equally active. The Talaat Moustafa Group launched its “Madinaty” mega project, which will host 80,000 residential units and an estimated population of 600,000. Furthermore, the willingness of both large and medium-sized Egyptian developers to form partnerships and other types of alliances with investors from the Gulf, as well as to cater to potential customers in the area (both GCC nationals and emigrated Egyptians), was an important reason we chose real estate as one of the three key sectors to review in this Who's Who guide. In the pages that follow, Egyptian developers show a marked optimism about the prospects of strengthening their ties with the Gulf: “With the changes occurring in the local market, we see tremendous opportunity to leverage our skills and experience, and bring our client list from the Gulf back to Egypt,” says Ibrahim Hegazy, Vice-President of A. Moez & Moh. Hegazy, an Egyptian consulting firm in the fields of engineering and architecture, with a strong presence in the Gulf since 1968. Amr Soliman, Chairman of Dar Almimaar Holding, owner of a fastgrowing development company, says he considers investors from the Gulf as “key potential partners to help us fuel the expansion of the scale and reach of our operations.”Government officials providing the links between Egypt and the Gulf are working at full speed to keep the pace. H.E. Saad Ebeid,

The real estate market in Egypt saw strong growth for the third consecutive year Ambassador of Egypt at the United Arab Emirates, declares that 2006 was a particularly busy year for him: “Investors from the U.A.E. are showing more interest than ever in coming to our country to study business opportunities, and we are working hard at the embassy to keep them coming." The strengthening of economic ties with the Gulf was symbolized at the Arab Strategy Forum in Dubai last December, at which Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif was one of the key speakers. During the event Egyptian Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garranah and Hussain Sajwani, Chairman and Founder of Damac Holding Group, signed the construction agreement for the “Gamsha Bay” project. The number of tourists from Arab countries visiting Egypt in 2006 increased sharply, adding to the business and investment momentum

Gulf investors were particularly enthusiastic about Egypt during 2006 between the Gulf region and Egypt. Qatari visitors increased by 86.9 percent during the first semester, followed by Palestine (17.4 percent) and the UAE (11.9 percent), and their tourist nights rose 63.8 percent, 26.9 percent and 25.1 percent respectively. Adel O. Cherif, Assistant Vice President of the Egyptian General Company for Hotels and Tourism, points out that “the growth in the number of visitors from the Gulf is


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

expected to increase during the next couple of years, and Egypt is gearing up its tourism offerings to fully take advantage of their high purchasing power and our cultural affinity.” The basis of a functioning market economy While most of the developments being launched by GCC-based real estate giants are luxurious tourism and residential projects catering to the highest income earners and wealthy foreigners looking for holiday homes, their multiplier effect on the economy is considerable. Through job creation, these projects will end up benefiting the population's lower-income groups, which is the most basic mechanism by which an economy based on free market principles transforms the profit-seeking endeavors of investors into concrete benefits for society. But to make a more significant impact on the standards of living of Egypt's population at large, the current real estate boom has to be replicated in the medium- and low-income segments of society. Besides macroeconomic sta-

bility, the most important development furthering this socio-economic objective is mortgage finance reform. That's why we have selected it, within a wider perspective of the financial markets in Egypt, as the second sector for review in Who's Who Egypt 2007. Encouraged by these reforms, companies like Amlak Finance, the largest publicly listed Islamic finance company and a pioneer in home finance in the UAE, has made its debut in Egypt. Spurred on by government incentives to push private developers to enter the budget-housing market, Orascom Hotels and Development announced in January the launch of Orascom for Budget Housing, with planned investments of almost US$ 500 million in housing projects. The move complements Orascom's establishment of Tamweel, the group's mortgage finance company, in September 2006. Ahmed Sabbour, Managing Director of Al Ahly Real Estate Development, says that “[the Ministry of Housing] came up with some brilliant ideas that enable private investors to acquire land for middle-income targeted developments on very favorable terms.” Investors throughout the Gulf are taking

note, and Al Ahly is currently in talks with several of them for business possibilities in this segment of the market. In the end, as Taher Helmy points out, “A fully functioning housing market is definitely the key to a dynamic market economy,” and we couldn't agree more. In the pages that follow, we present a

UAE investors kept Ambassador Ebeid exceptionally busy during 2006

selection of articles featuring the key people in government and business that are consolidating Egypt's real estate, tourism, and financial markets as three of the major pillars of this vibrant country's economy.

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

A Breath of Fresh Air for Egyptian Real Estate

SODIC Managing Director Maher Maksoud believes Egypt's rising middle class is "the segment of the future"

As far as SODIC is concerned, providing a healthier lifestyle for Egypt's emerging demographic is at the heart of the company's development strategy ODIC is a new breed of real estate company, which is delivering new opportunities and lifestyles for the people of Egypt; lifestyles that match the aspirations of the country's growing professional classes with shops, malls, parks, suburban communities and schools. Maher Maksoud, SODIC's Managing Director, believes that the emergence of a new upper-middle class as well as economic reform will push this dream into reality. “The whole suburbanization trend is one of several that are emerging in Egypt, and in fact I would go as far as to say that until the last two or three years there

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Maksoud sees a strong reversal in that trend, thanks to the liberalization policies of the Egyptian government. Rather than addressing the needs of Egypt's traditional property owning class, comprising only around 2 percent of the population, SODIC's strategy has been to consciously address the growing demands of the first time buyers. But while the booming demand for property is not in doubt, Maksoud recognizes that his company is competing with highly experienced and well resourced developers from the Gulf states, and hence there is great pressure to hit the ground running, and offer world-class develop-

was no true real estate sector in Egypt simply because the opportunities did not allow for its development,” he explains. “This is in large part related to Egypt's general domestic economic situation, which until recently maintained an insular economy.” Until now, despite the very heavy pressure on real estate in Cairo, the development of modern suburban residential areas in the outskirts has been severely hampered by the lack of finance for prospective buyers, and also by protectionist policies that restricted imports and limited growth in retail outlets.

ments. According to Maksoud however, SODIC is in a very strong position to compete with foreign developers, not least because as an Egyptian company, they have a unique understanding of Egyptian culture and preferences. “As Egyptians we can move more quickly. For example, with the launch of Allegria, we have done sales exceeding 800 million EGP in reservations within the first month alone. This was accomplished by knowing how to develop the product to cater to a particular segment of the Egyptian market which we feel is going

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to give us the opportunity to lead the new wave of suburban real estate development.” SODIC's Allegria development comprises a range of modern residential and commercial developments set within acres of attractive parkland, and is situated just 15 minutes from the center of Cairo. Recently, the company announced the development of Egypt's first signature golf course, which will flank the successful Allegria development. The multimillion-dollar Greg Norman course will provide a stunning backdrop for the villas and townhouses when it opens in 2008. A more recent initiative from SODIC, and one which looks like it will take the market by storm, is the announcement of two new co-developments in conjunction with the internationally renowned Solidere, who are probably best known for their visionary redevelopments in Beirut after Lebanon's civil war. SODIC and Solidere are to work together on two major, high profile developments, one to the west of Cairo, on a 1.2 million sqm site in the 6th of October-Sheikh Zayed City area on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road, just a short distance away from Smart Village business park. The other project is located to the East of the city, in the New Cairo/Qattamia area, immediately adjacent to the new American University in Cairo campus and a number of important residential communities. The two projects represent a massive investment of more than 8 billion EGP over a five year period. Maksoud believes that the blend of unique skills and experience that each partner brings to these projects points to world-beating developments that will set new stan-


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

dards for Greater Cairo and Egypt as a whole: “Our collaboration with Solidere on these important projects is in line with our unwavering commitment to changing for the better the future urban landscape of Cairo. Solidere brings to the table unrivalled expertise in developing vibrant, 21st century urban centers. We are delighted to have them as our exclusive partners in East and West Cairo.” These extraordinary developments represent a massive investment in Egypt's real estate park, and yet Maksoud firmly believes that this is just

Company Snapshot •Record-breaking financial performance in 2006 with revenues of EGP 362 million (235 percent growth on 2005) and five-fold increase in profits from EGP 41 million in 2005 to EGP 227 million •EGP 1.1 billion capital increase successfully concluded in 2006 to finance strategic land acquisition in Katameya, immediately adjacent to the American University in Cairo •20th largest listed company by market capitalization, with growth from EGP 750 million in 2006 to EGP 4.2 billion today •Share price increase by 91.5 percent from EGP 88.25 on April 2, 2006 (new management take-over date) to EGP 168.98 as of May 2, 2007 •Diverse shareholder base (local, regional and international) and consistently among the highest traded shares on the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange.

SODIC's Allegria development comprises modern residential and commercial facilities, set within acres of parkland and designed with young families and children in mind

the start. "I believe that there is a new upper middle class developing which we have not yet tapped into. I myself am now in a position to buy a car and a second home whereas 10 years ago I was not. At the beginning of my career in 1992, I was working at Orascom making 3,000 EGP per month and I was one of the top ten earners at the Group. Today, there are thousands of employees at Orascom and other successful companies who are earning in the tens of thousands. Salary scales are increasing dramatically along with the size of the private sector. You also have lots of individual entrepreneurs who are getting involved in profitable projects. There is definitely a growing segment of the population with reasonable income streams," explains Maksoud. Coupled with the greater availability of finance, thanks to the implementation of the new mortgage law, the luxury properties within these and similar developments are now within reach of a significantly greater proportion of Egypt's 71 million population than would have been the case just a few years ago. "In the past, income streams could not be translated into capital purchases because in order to buy a house you still had to save up about a million pounds, put them in a bag and go purchase the property," says Maksoud. "If mortgages

over the next 3-4 years can grow to account for just 5 percent of GDP, then all of the projects that are coming onto the market which people consider to be part of the bubble are going to be more then fully covered." Maksoud's career to date has comprised an impressive track record of success in a range of sectors. Graduating in Economics in Egypt, he went to the United Kingdom to study for a Master's degree at the London School of Economics. Upon his return, he worked with the Orascom Group, rising to the position of CEO of Orascom Hotels and Development. On leaving Orascom, Maksoud founded the Cilantro chain of coffee shops, an impressive success story in itself, that he believes reflected an earlier demographic trend in the foodservice market that is now being reflected in real estate. “The key to success is recognizing trends early on and perseverance. Of course a lot of this has to do with being at the right place at the right time, but also part of it is recognizing something a little bit in advance. Sometimes in the Middle East we have a 'souk mentality', with a good example being if a successful coffee shop opens, you will soon find ten around it. I prefer to be the one that opens before the other ten as opposed to jumping on the bandwagon."

Km 38 Cairo/Alex. Desert Road, Sheikh Zayed City, Giza-Egypt P.O. Box 119 Sheikh Zayed •Tel: (202) 85 71 251 • Fax: (202) 85 71 252 • www.sodic.com.eg

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Egyptian Real Estate Powerhouses Address Local Challenges

Hisham Talaat Moustafa, Chairman, Talaat Moustafa Group

Talaat Moustafa Group and Orascom Hotels and Development aim to provide housing solutions for the Egyptian market

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raditionally, Egyptian real estate developers maintained a set focus on the premium-end of the spectrum, with the high-spending, jet-setting tourist flying into Egypt for a stay at his summer villa typically garnering most of the attention of local real estate companies. Despite this narrow focus of the market, and land prices rising well above the 2006 inflation rate of 12 percent, the economic expan-

Samih Sawiris, Chairman, Orascom Hotels and Development

sion forecast of 7 percent for the current fiscal year, coupled with greater access to consumer financing and an expanding middle range property market, imply that many more Egyptians look set on the path to home ownership. Although Talaat Moustafa Group maintains a portfolio of luxury-tailored developments such as Al Rehab, Al Rabwa, Mayfair, San Stefano Grand Plaza and the Four Seasons, a project that appears to be a step in the right direction for the mid-bracket segment is “Madinaty,� a development covering 12

8,000 acres of land that is set to be one of the biggest all-inclusive enclosed cities in the Middle East. When completed, the new satellite city will comprise 80,000 residential units, a mix of apartments, villas and townhouses. The city has external terminals and unique services that will look to satisfy the needs of an integrated community, and is being built to provide a modern life for a projected 600,000 residents in what is considered an urban extension for the New Cairo City. Orascom Hotels and Development (OHD) has a similar portfolio of exclusive destinations, such as El-Gouna, Taba Heights, Jordan's Tala Bay, Ras Al Khaima's The Cove, four projects in Oman, a ski resort in Switzerland, two airlines, and most recently, an invitation from Moroccan officials to establish tourist resorts in the Kingdom (just to name a few). Nevertheless, Chairman Samih Sawiris is planning to invest substantially in budget housing projects associated with the government. The firm has announced a new budget housing company to develop 50,000 units on 8.4 million sqm of land purchased from the state, with an expected investment cost for the project to be around 2.8 billion EGP. The new company, Orascom for Budget Housing, has a paid-in capital of 60 million EGP and hopes to begin work on the projects as soon as possible. The government intends to develop more than 500,000 housing units over the next six to seven years, and with the new budget firm's authorized capital of 600 million EGP being raised by selling units off-plan through Orascom Hotel and Development's new mortgage finance company, Tamweel, the stage is set for Sawiris' company to address the bulk of the market.

The OHD-majority-owned Tamweel Company was granted a license by the Mortgage Finance Authority to become Egypt's third mortgage company. Initially, the new company will

OHD has announced a new budget housing company to develop 50,000 units on 8.4 million sqm of land purchased from the state be totally owned by Orascom Hotels and Development, and once it is operational, the management will consider partnering with outside investors. Tamweel, has a paid-in capital of 12.5 million EGP, with issued capital of 50 million EGP and 500 million EGP authorized. From the onset, the company would finance up to 70 percent of the price of houses with mortgages of 20 to 25 years, which according to company officials should be available for sale by the end of 2007.


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Leveraging Local Expertise with Regional Establishment

Eng. Mohamed Hassan Dorra, CEO, The Dorra Group, combining a unique blend of Egyptian and Gulf market knowledge

Along with maintaining a historically strong base of operations in Egypt, the Dorra Group of Companies looks to capitalize on its Gulf experience and make a strong homecoming

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ohamed Hassan Dorra, Chief Executive Officer of the Dorra Group, heads an organization that is uniquely placed to meet the growing demands of the real estate market in Egypt. With more than 60 years of experience in the construction industry, the group of companies has seen dramatic changes in the market over the years, and is now delivering on major projects, such as a 551-room complex in Sharm El Sheikh, which was completed earlier this year in collaboration with German and American partners. The Dorra group has considerable experience on joint ventures with international partners, something which has been a regular occurrence for the company since the 1980's, working on major projects with key players such as British companies John Laing International and Costain, Harpers and

The Dorra Group has a long-standing knowledge and understanding of the Gulf Howards from the U.S.A., the Japanese Dia Nepon and the Spanish Cimy. The current boom in demand for

real estate is having a profound effect on Egyptian construction. Dorra observes that while the construction

The current boom in demand for real estate is having a profound effect on Egyptian construction industry is ready and able to react to increasing demand for their services, it is often the real estate itself that is in short supply, especially in key areas. “Land owned by the Government was once valued at 50 EGP per meter. As we speak right now, the same piece of land now costs around 1,200 EGP per meter.” And the boom has an impact on the cost of raw materials too. “Cement price sharply increased, and the price of other construction materials almost tripled,” he explains. The Dorra Group has a long-standing knowledge and understanding of the Gulf, having been a major investor in Dubai over the last 20 years. This is a particular strength for the group in the current climate, as they can offer

both the credibility of a recognized player in the Gulf, as well as the authority of a well-known, long-standing operator in Egypt. “Using our integrated market experience, we can create our own product in the market and make it attractive to the investor. We also deliver our market products to the standard quality that investors are used to in Dubai, Doha and in other countries from where they come. We have a strong background and experience with investors in these countries and we know how to deal with them when they approach us.” The Dorra Group certainly has an impressive portfolio of projects to show to prospective clients. Among the most prestigious complexes are: Hadayek El Mohandessen, Zaied 2000, Zaied Heights, Zaied Residence and Greens in El Sheikh Zaied City; Al Shorouk 2000 in Al Shorouk City and The Villa in New Cairo City; Golden Beach Resort in the North Coast of Alexandria; Diar Elrabwa resort and Palma Resort in Sharm El Sheikh. All these complexes offer around 5,000 residential units. Dorra Group also has success stories in other industries, such as tourism, manufacturing and sevices. Dorra grew up in Cairo, and studied at Cairo's American University, majoring in construction and business administration. He followed his father into the construction business and has developed further the early success of the Dorra Group. He lives in Cairo with his wife and two children. 13


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

The Vantage Point of Mountain View An innovative player in Egypt's real estate market aims to set a new standard of luxury living–and the way it is marketed

Soliman's passionate vision allowed him to create a business model that balances luxury living and a strong sense of community

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gypt's booming property market provides strong incentives for entrepreneurs to take real estate development to a new level of sophistication. Amr Soliman and his innovative Mountain View brand, under which he is marketing exceptionally successful real estate developments in New Cairo and Egypt's northern coast, is definitely a case in point. Soliman founded an architectural practice in 1989 under the name of Dar Almimaar, but his entrepreneurial spirit quickly translated into fast growth for his venture–by 2006 the company was incorporated under a holding structure embracing six daughter enterprises, and today only one of them is entirely focused on architecture, under the name of DMA. The construction and contracting arm of the group is DMC Contraction; IDRAK offers high quality interior design to residential and commercial clients, while CURVE is a full-service landscaping company. Furniture manufacturing is carried out by Maharat, and Comfort Innovations is the group's integrated real estate development and facility management company. An integral organization that benefits from the synergy of its component parts and fully utilizes the knowledge of almost 20 years of accumulated experience is a crucial element of success, but as Soliman points out, what matters the most is to articulate a vision that encompasses a coherent business philosophy, and making all stakeholders of the organization commit to it: “I have always believed that we are not in the business of developing projects–we are in the business of 16

developing brands and unique lifestyles,” says Soliman. The language used by management and employees at Comfort Innovations shows that this philosophy has permeated their hearts and minds–there is virtually no use for terms of engineering processes and projects. Instead, business and management terms are commonplace. “In terms of production and marketing, we envision real estate development as not different from a seamless manufacturing process,” Soliman asserts. Teamwork is another key value, with the design, marketing and sales teams identifying themselves with the attack players of a soccer team, while HR, finance and administration call themselves the “defenders.” "High caliber people are always welcome to our winning team," says Soliman. The Mountain View Results–luxury, uniqueness and sense of community When the integral structure and dynamic culture of Dar Almimaar Holding–coupled with Soliman's leadership philosophy focused on customer service and creativity–are understood, it is easy to see the Mountain View brand as his favorite brainchild. Launched in partnership with Al-Fozan Group of Saudi Arabia, Mountain View is bringing a sense of luxury, community and completeness

to Egyptian real estate development. “Mountain View is delivering a never-seen-before standard of quality, uniqueness and refinement to the real estate market in Egypt,” says Soliman. “Our focus is on creating an environ-

Amr Soliman's entrepreneurial strength results from a unique blend of business, engineering and architectural talents, plus almost 20 years of handson experience in real estate development ment based on elegance and moral values, where those who have sacrificed so much of their life to great


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

launch over the next three years, with some getting underway as early as fall of 2007. Locations include Ras elHikma on the northern coast of Egypt, Sixth of October in Cairo and El Ein ElSukhna. The Mountain View Results–Investors

achievement can finally enjoy the rewards and lifestyle they so richly deserve.” The first two projects developed under the Mountain View brand in Qattamia, New Cairo, sold out extremely fast. Soliman is sure that

“I have always believed that we are not in the business of developing projects – we are in the business of developing brands and unique lifestyles” this is due to a few key success factors: "Our integrated approach, focus on long-term relationships with clients, our consistent level of service, and the strength of our brand." And the company is certainly not looking for quick sales to people who simply want to turn around and re-sell their property for a speedy profit–just the opposite, in fact. “We choose to work with people who will actually live in the villas and estates they purchase. This is the best way to build community values and the sense of quality and exclusiveness that is so important to those who

deserve the reward of distinguished living,” Says Soliman. Mountain View operates with a strong emphasis on selling to people who will actually live in the compounds, not to speculative investors. “Over 95 percent of our sales are to people who will in fact live in the homes they buy, which is crucial

The exceptional sales performance of Mountain View projects translates to exceptional financial performance, a fact that has not escaped the notice of Soliman and his shareholders. “Mountain View's financial performance has been extremely successful. The initial investment to establish the company was 28 million EGP and in our first year alone we sold around 200 million EGP worth of property before construction even started,”

Mountain View: creating a strong sense of community from the very start

to get the feeling of community going from the start in the projects,” says Soliman. When asked why they have had such phenomenal success, Soliman answers quickly and confidently. “It is because we are different from everyone else. From our management structure to our marketing professionals to our strategic partners, everything we do is focused on fulfilling the Mountain View brand promise: ground-breaking standards of quality, exclusiveness, and community values.” Additional Mountain View developments are in the planning stages for

Strong community values are an essential part of the unique Mountain View lifestyle says Soliman. "After achieving great success in the sales and marketing of our two initial projects in Qattamia, 17


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

the Mountain View brand has been able to act as a platform to launch other projects in Ras el-Hikma and El Ein El-Sukhna, which will allow us to achieve one billion EGP in sales in the medium term." With results like these, it's easy to see why the company's value has increased dramatically within the first year of launching Mountain View. Shareholders are brimming with enthusiasm at the prospects for the future, and so are other potential investors from the Gulf region. Looking Ahead: The Future Of Mountain View and Dar Almimaar Holding Mountain View properties currently cater to the needs of wealthy customers in search of an exceptionally luxurious lifestyle in an environment with strong community values. In the coming years, their portfolio of properties will expand to different segments of the real estate market as well. “Today we are exclusively focused on the A+ customer. Our developments are all in prime locations and targeted to high-income families,” says Soliman. “As we grow we will launch new projects aimed at the A, B, and C1 socioeconomic segments, and of course, these projects will be approached with the same proven Mountain View philosophy. We pay careful attention to our customers' needs and wants through exhaustive market research, and our absolute commitment to quality.” With regards as to how Soliman sees the future of Dar Almimaar evolv-

Mountain View–Our Critical Success Factors Our integrated approach Our focus on building longterm relationships with our clients Our consistent level of professional services, based on wide local market knowledge Our capacity for innovation The strength of our financial results–achieving a positive return on investment

ing, he shows no doubt when asserting that “Our objective in the coming years is to become the benchmark in the development management industry in Egypt. And once we make the most of our roots in Egypt, we will expand internationally within the region.” And with the real estate market in Egypt becoming highly competitive, he asserts that in order to succeed, "Change is the key. Differentiation stems from being innovative, understanding the economics of real estate, shortening the sales cycle, and improving project management skills." For achieving these ambitious objectives, Soliman has in mind teaming up with new investors that help

him fuel the growth of Dar Almimaar. In this sense, he goes on to emphasize another key strength of the company: its professional governance structure ensures complete transparency for shareholders. This means that the right components are already in place to allow the company to tap into financial markets in an efficient way when the right time arrives. “Unlike many companies in Egypt that have a closed, familial ownership, we are absolutely open for conversations regarding partnerships, joint ventures and other forms of cooperation,” says Soliman. “We are always interested in talking to potential

First-year sales were 200 million EGP in Qattamia, and extending the Mountain View brand to Ras elHikma and El Ein El-Sukhna will increase the figure to one billion EGP investors whose values and goals integrate well with ours.” On a final note, Soliman reflects upon the challenges that his company will face in the future in order to keep the strong track record of success he has achieved so far, and how to make the most out of these challenges: "Fierce competition at all levels of our industry will definitely change the market shares of the key players. More than ever, we need to stay focused on exceeding customers' expectations, embrace uncertainty in every aspect of our business, and recruiting and retaining the highest caliber of people."

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Synergy, Elegance, and World-Class Excellence Nile City Investments capitalizes on the synergy of first-class office space, an extraordinary shopping mall, and deluxe hospitality

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ile City Investments was established in 1997 as a joint venture between Mr. Fahd Shobokshi and Orascom Group, with their first project being Nile City Towers office complex. This extremely popular facility is the largest office community in Egypt. Since its inception, Nile City Investments has also developed the Nile City Mall and is about to launch the Fairmont Nile City Hotel. “Through all of its endeavors, the most important goal of Nile City Investments is to create world-class facilities,” says Shanab. “We are immensely proud of our success to date, catering to the needs of multinational companies from the Gulf Region and the rest of the world.” He goes on to say that “Nile City Towers provides the same service and quality as any facility in London, New York, or Tokyo. It is an intelligent building, widely recognized by multi-national tenants as being among the very best in all of Egypt.” Fairmont Nile City The Fairmont Nile City Hotel will be located in the newly built third tower of the Nile City complex, bringing with it an internationally recognized reputation for elegance and luxury. “It is the perfect place for corporate travelers because it is so close to the business district and offers so many luxurious amenities,” says Shanab. “Fairmont Nile City is also a wonderfully elegant and convenient accommodation for the leisure traveler. From the hotel, visitors can soak in the marvelous view of the Nile and even see the pyramids off in the distance.” With a capacity of 574 luxury rooms on 25 floors with a total built up area of 60,000 sqm, the hotel will include four restaurants, two bars and lounges, a business center, meeting rooms of dif-

ferent sizes, a 360 person ballroom, and an outdoor swimming pool on the rooftop of the 24th floor. The hotel represents a total investment of approximately US$ 130 million. Nile City Investments entered into a joint venture with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, who holds a 15 percent interest in the property. Another 15 percent is owned by the Dubai-based Kingdom Hotels Investments, a leading hotel and resort investment company focused on the luxury segments in the Middle East and Africa. With its luxurious appointments, convenient location, and service beyond compare, Fairmont Nile City is

"Nile City Towers provides the same service and quality as any facility in London, New York, or Tokyo..." positioned to be an integral part of Egypt's bright future in premium tourism and hotels. The brand is strong and much in demand, as evidenced by the extreme success of the Fairmont Dubai. “Our guests have come to expect only the best from the Fairmont brand, and the Fairmont Dubai succeeded to the point of being one of the best hotels in the world,” says Shanab. “We bring that same reputation and excellence to Egypt in the form of Fairmont Nile City.”

Hisham L. Shanab, discusses the exceptional quality and elegance of Nile City Towers and the upcoming Fairmont Nile City Hotel

Tourism Strategy Egypt has set forth an ambitious goal for the country's tourism industry, and Nile City Investments is poised to make significant contributions to that goal. “Egypt is aiming for 14 million tourists by 2011, and we are contributing to that goal with our focus on the top-tier market of premium-end tourists,” says Shanab. “Our business model is built on maintaining the highest level of international standards, which fits quite nicely with Egypt's greater overall goal.” An underlying part of Egypt's tourism strategy is to develop that industry in parallel with the goal of developing Cairo as a regional business hub. “We have great momentum in place already,” says Shanab, “and now we can seize this opportunity to make Nile City Towers and Fairmont Nile City important contributors to the well being of Cairo's people and the entire nation of Egypt.” Background Mr. Hisham L. Shanab graduated from Ain Shams University in 1982 with a degree in architecture, after which he worked for Dar Al Handasah architectural firm. After a spell with Perkins & Will in Chicago, he decided to capitalize on his experience and open a private practice. In November 2000 he became the General Manager of Nile City Investments thanks to a chance meeting with Naguib Sawiris and Fahd Shobokshi. In August 2006 he was appointed Executive General Manager, a position he has occupied since then. 19


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Cityscape Predicts Rapid Growth in Egyptian Business Participation from Egyptian companies in the world's largest business-to-business real estate platform is expected to double during 2007

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ityscape is the world's leading international business-to-business property event. Last year, the flagship event 'Cityscape Dubai' broke all records to become the largest event of its kind in the world. “At the recent event in December 2006, we achieved a 130 percent increase in exhibition space,” explains Rohan Marwaha, Cityscape's Group Director. “This means we have surpassed the likes of MIPIM in Cannes and Expo Real in Munich, to be the Rohan Marwaha, Cityscape Group Director, “Explosive clear number one.” population growth in Egypt The Dubai event, which has provided the country with welcomed more than 30,000 one of the key factors for susguests from 100 countries, is tainable development in real the launch-pad for major estate.” expansion that has already led to a remarkably successful first event in Singapore, and the prospect of ground-breaking initiatives in India and China later this year. The Indian exhibition almost sold out six months prior to the event. The company intends to build the brand into something much more than a program of exhibitions. The intention is to produce a network of institutional investors, VIP's and high net worth individuals, through a diversification of services. “Our first foray into information provision has been the Cityscape Magazine, and there is a lot more to come.” Cityscape is keeping a close watch on Egypt. In the Greater Cairo Municipal Area, Marwaha observes that the very rapid growth in population over the past 40 years has out-paced the planners, leaving a metropolis with major challenges in terms of infrastructure, public transport and pollution control. Nevertheless, he believes that recent reforms are testimony to a government that is committed to doing all it can to sustain the current growth. This is boosting the confidence of developers, and it is no surprise that Cityscape is witnessing a rapid growth in enquiries from Egyptian real estate companies. “I can confidently say that the number of enquiries from Egyptian businesses has more than doubled this year, and participation at Cityscape events is also expected to double.” 20


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

A Dream-Like Location for a Dream-Like Development Internationally-renowned Jordanian entrepreneur Khaled Shaheen chooses Egypt as the ideal place to build a unique luxury residential resort and hotel project

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anuary 23, 2006 marked the ground-breaking of Serrenia, the US$ 3 billion residential and hotel resort at Sahl Hasheesh, which is projected to become one of the most opulent waterside complexes in the world. This ultra-luxury paradise on Egypt's Red Sea coast is being developed by Shaheen Business and Investment Group (SBIG). The scale and scope of this sumptuous project has captured the attention of the world's leading travel publications, architecture critics, tourism industry experts, and celebrities, including singer Lionel Richie. After Richie's live performance at Serrenia's official launch in Cairo in mid-December 2006, he announced his intention to buy a property in Serrenia. The resort is already being hailed as a complex of unique architectural dimensions, which could place it at the forefront of the most sought-after recreational addresses on the planet. Clearly, it has already made an impact on the media, pundits, and the rich and famous. Designed by world-renowned architects Foster and Partners (it is actually the firm's first luxury resort), Serrenia represents a landscape of cutting-edge, sleek originality. The resort includes a snake-shaped seven-star hotel, a flying-saucer-shaped yacht club nestling at the heart of a 300-berth marina, and a complex of US$ 20 million-plus “palaces,” inspired by the

crescent-shaped barchan sand dunes formed by the prevailing northerly winds in the surrounding desert. This opulent oasis is being driven by esthetic architectural standards unparalleled in the world. But innovation per se is not where the real charm of the project is. Harmony with Egypt's culture and environment is, perhaps, more important. The renowned Jordanian entrepreneur, Khaled Shaheen, Chairman and CEO of SBIG, points out that “ultra-modern design on its own wouldn't have been of any value, but Foster and Partners did an outstanding job in using aesthetic elements inspired by the marvels of the Red Sea and the historical wonders of Egypt.” Or, in the words of Lord Foster, Founder of Foster and Partners, in a recent press statement, “[Serrenia] maintains the character of the desert with a contemporary reinvention of the Egyptian garden. We sought to evolve designs which would respond to the natural environment, reflecting Egyptian history, as well as maintaining the character of the desert.” Covering an area of over three million sqm, and accommodating several types of residences, including palaces and a range of villas and apartments, Serrenia will entail an investment of approximately US$ 3 billion. The resort complex will offer a world-class spa, a championship 18-hole golf course,

Shaheen says he “hates repetition,” so he's established extraordinary standards of luxury and design for the Serrenia project– standards the world has rarely seen

restaurants, retail outlets, a heliport for guests, a beach club, and other sporting facilities. The project will take three years to complete. The palaces, villas, and apartments echo the shape and range of colors found in the desert's dunes. Each property has its own swimming pool, as well as lush tropical gardens with water features. Serrenia's Marina 'Hub' is one of the focal points of the development with an extraordinary, wave-shaped floating roof and a vast, airy, cool space below. It accommodates carefully selected leading brand stores from around the world. A central pier, yacht marina, and beach club extend from the hub. From a service perspective, there are virtually no restrictions. The project's Website reads, “If your daughter's favorite pony needs to be part of the family vacation, arrangements can be made for horse and groom to be flown in.” No time to sail your yacht to Egypt to host that special party? No problem, Serrenia can have it sent in advance. Notwithstanding Serrenia's level of luxury, Mr. Shaheen is eager to stress that customer value for money is a top priority in the project. “Our palaces are certainly reserved for the very wealthy, but a good number of apartments will be available for approximately US$ 500,000. You don't need to be a millionaire to become a member of the Serrenia community.” 21


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Building the Foundations of Egypt's Success By positioning itself as the partner of choice, Samcrete aims to satisfy the most demanding requirements of foreign developers

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s one of Egypt's oldest–and leading–private contractors, Samcrete has been operating in the country since 1963, when it started building large-infrastructure projects, such as military airports, fortifications, roads, and bridges. The company's breadth of activities is so comprehensive that there are few types of projects it hasn't covered at some stage of its development, making it a truly knowledgeable player in Egypt's construction market and its related industries and services. In the Seventies, when the country embraced the Open-door Policy, Samcrete also participated in further expanding Egypt's infrastructure. Among its key projects during those years were the Kafr El ZyatDamanhour Highway and the Damieta Dam, along with building several new urban community infrastructures. During the Eighties and Nineties the firm played a role in developing major national projects, such as the Greater Cairo Sewage Project, Dar Al Fouad Hospital, and Abou El Gharadik Airport. The company's other areas of activity include power plants, housing, education facilities, landscaping, hotels, religious buildings, renovation, internal decoration, as well as health and other public buildings. Samcrete is part of a larger family of companies under the umbrella of SONID Holding, a conglomerate that, in addition to engineering and construction, is active in advertising, FMCGs, automotive distribution, and tourism. The company slowly started expanding the scope of its operations, and today has a fully integrated division–Samcrete Building Systems–in charge of producing and commercializing building materials. 22

Samcrete's reputation as the partner of choice for multinational companies operating in Egypt's civil construction and real estate market is well established, and with foreign investment at record highs in Egypt, the company has been able to Saad capitalizes on Samcrete’s hiscapitalize fully on it. As torical achievements, high-caliber Chairman Karim Sami projects and human resources Saad points out, this is clearly seen in several of the company's current flagship proj- and Perkins & Will, comprising a clusects: “We develop our projects accord- ter of low-rise office buildings ing to the highest international stan- equipped with all the services and dards, which can be seen by the fact facilities multinational corporations that our 'Pyramids Heights' office park currently being developed caters for multinational clients such as IBM, Xerox, and KPMG.” Located on a plateau overlooking the Giza pyramids, Pyramids Heights is an exclusive, multi-purpose complex, offering secluded Residential and Business Park, and is a very good example of the trend within Cairo during the past few years of building ultra-modern communities that testify to Egypt's increasing integration with the global economy. The site where the project stands was originally planned as a quarry for mining limestone, but after reflecting on the direction Egypt is taking as an increasingly important player in the region and the global economy, Saad and his team decided require. The project's accessibility the land had the potential of a higher from Cairo's main districts–about 10 minutes from Lebanon Square, 15 minvalue-added use. The vision started to take shape, utes from Maadi, and five minutes and today the project's business park from the Ring Road–add to its busihosts the offices of companies such as ness appeal. And the beautiful IBM, KPMG, Bticino, Xerox, scenery, combined with mild weather AstraZeneca, Wyeth, METITO and and Cairo's purest quality of air, make TEData. Bank AUDI is committed to it an ideal residential community of move into the complex soon. The proj- only 300 villas. Far from being a closed ect is designed by Dar Al-Hadasah compound within an underdeveloped

“The new AUC campus demands an especially high level of quality, design, and complexity management”


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

area, the project's neighborhood houses a number of five-star hotels, hypermarkets and shopping outlets, schools and universities, as well as the industrial and business areas of Abu Rawash and 6th of October. “At the moment, we are the only local service providers for Emaar, and our joint-venture project with Samsung for the construction of the new American University in Cairo (AUC) is currently the largest building project in Egypt. The new AUC campus demands an especially high level of quality, design, and complexity management, to the extent that Samsung claims the project is more demanding and complex than the Burj Dubai development in Dubai, which is also being carried out by them,” says Saad. AUC's new campus will be located in the planned community of New Cairo, a development comprising 46,000 acres of land, with a projected population of 2.5 million people. This

“I feel a figure close to 20 or 30 million tourists for Egypt is attainable in the medium term” new community is designed to be a predominantly middle-to-high-income residential community, with schools, cultural facilities, commercial enterprises, government agencies, hotels, open spaces, parks, and the new AUC Campus at its center. Samcrete's contribution to building AUC's new campus has a special significance for Saad, given the central role that the company plays in devel-

Pyramids Heights Project Fact Sheet Location: On a plateau overlooking the Giza pyramids and the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road, 8 km away from the pyramids area, adjacent to the protectorate of Elhassana Dome, and 4 km from the upcoming Grand Egyptian Museum. Weather: Average annual air temperature is 19.9 °C and average humidity is 68%. Accessibility: 10 minutes from Lebanon Square, 15 minutes from Maadi and five minutes from the Ring Road. Primary sectors: Business park, hotel and conference center, residential and diplomatic compound, cultural, entertainment and shopping plaza. Design and Planning: Dar Al-Hadasah and Perkins & Will. Key Tenants: IBM, KPMG, Bticino, and Xerox

oping the precious human capital it has been able to accumulate over the long history of its operations in Egypt. According to Saad, the necessity to invest heavily in Samcrete's people will only increase in the future, as the company keeps pace with the rapid expansion into modern, state-of-theart development projects. “We embrace the responsibility of developing our workforce,” he says, “and we try to provide challenging and fulfilling career opportunities to job-market entrants. In the end, it is the initiative of local and foreign companies in the industry that will fill the gap created by the explosion in demand for human capital.” Riding the tourism wave Samcrete's next steps are geared towards further increasing its activities in tourism, a sector where they see major potential in the near future. “If you look in the region, you won't find many countries as capable of fulfilling the growing global demand for tourism,” says Saad. “Egypt has already reached the mark of nine million tourists per year, and I feel a figure close to 20 or 30 million is attainable in the medium term. We are at a stage where all the hard factors, such as infrastructure and real estate development, are mostly available in our country, and now the only area that needs to be developed further is human resources. With a concerted effort from the private and public sectors in this area, the equation will soon be complete.” Samcrete's joint venture with German hotel management company Steigenberger Hotels AG, gives the company the rights to operate in the Middle East. Bringing such an exclusive operator out of its main area of concentration in Central Europe will enable Samcrete to leverage its renowned service and experience. “We have launched our first venture in Hurghada with the Steigenberger Al Dau Beach Hotel, a five-star location that hosted the Ms. Germany competition. This was the first time the event was held outside Germany. We believe decent quality three- and fourstar operators are needed, and it is a segment we can cater for in the near future.” 23


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Combining Innovation with Integration Drawing upon its establishment in the GCC and throughout the region, Al-Moez Group continually looks to integrate its various activities by thinking one step ahead. "Today is the extension of yesterday. Tomorrow is the logical development of today. Let our goals be ambitious and exceed our expectations." These may seem merely to be ideological platforms that most of us can only aspire to reach, but in fact they are the core fundamentals that drive Al-Moez Group, a diversified investment group involved in a range of investment fields from engineering consultancy and contracting to investments in real estate, construction, tourism, industrial manufacturing and trading, as well as more recent ventures into artistic and heritage investment. Founded in Qatar by Architect Dr. Omar Abdel-Moez in 1975, the group has seen tremendous growth due to its expanding regional presence throughout the GCC and Egypt. According to Vice Chairman Dr. Mostafa AbdelMoez, it is this dual capacity that has

lowed, a boom in the market ensued that has thus far maintained a rapid growth rate. Our strategy is unique in the sense that we are always open to collaboration on all fronts, whether Vice Chairman Dr. Mostafa Abdel-Moez it is purely on the buyside, joint venture can take care of the process from its agreements, or selling shares." conception to implementation.� Engineering and Contracting Real Estate CEG, formally known as Consulting Lotus for Investment, the group's Engineering Group, was the first company launched by Al-Moez Group. The Egyptian-based real estate investment company is based in Qatar, with wing, engages in both residential and branches in Egypt, Sri Lanka, and the commercial real estate activities. For accommodation, The Philippines. Through years of success- luxury ful operations, the company has built a Continental Residence provides guests reputation for distinctive and high with a panoramic view of the Nile and The Nile Residence: currently an 8villa, 19,000 sqm development with expansion plans underway

allowed the group to prosper through thick and thin. "Although there was a slowdown in the market in the mid 90's leading up to 2002, we still did extremely well and continued to launch our market campaigns from overseas to avoid the negative impact of market fluctuations in Egypt. By the start of 2005, we saw renewed vigor in the local real estate sector, and with the cabinet's reform package that soon fol24

quality design for projects in the GCC and throughout the region. The contracting side of the company has been compartmentalized to better serve its two main markets, with Royal for Development Company serving Egypt and Al Aaly Contracting serving Qatar and the GCC. "Having a consultancy firm that can maintain a high quality standard adds value to our operations, because we

aims to address the growing demand for residential flats with the same service and amenities one would expect from a 5-star hotel. Similarly, The Nile Residence is an expanding luxury community, currently comprising 8 villas on a land area of 19,000 sqm that has a 400m long square border directly on the Nile. "The kind of luxury housing we build is not bound by our capital outlay,


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

but rather the design and market experience as well as our talent to work with materials. In Egypt, to have a luxury unit goes beyond having a decorated interior, and involves providing essential facilities important for people living in the building, such as swimming pools, gymnasium and highspeed telephone and internet service." The company also develops compounds, with its premiere projects located in Sheikh Zayed near 6th of October. By offering units, twin houses, and separate villas, the aim is to target the middle and upper-middle class segments by selling at prices less than 1 million EGP. "Since the majority of new projects are too high-end and are not addressing the bulk of the market, we feel that diversifying our segmentation will allow us to sustain growth on both sides of the current wave in the sector."

The Continental Residence is a perfect example of Al-Moez Group's integrated approach

With pilot projects underway in the compound division, Al Offoq for Real Estate and Urban Development, a consortium between Lotus for Investment and partners Dr. Hussam Badrawy, Eng. Osama Farid, Eng. Magdy Aref, and Eng. Adel Loutfy, will look to pool its financial strength and diverse experiences together. "We agreed that this pilot project would be the pre-phase for a mega development, and we are now in the process of initiating a Knowledge City, with international universities, research centers, and world-class facilities to create an integrated educational complex." Commercial real estate projects in Egypt include Lotus Office Building, The Pyramids Plaza, Al-Moez Building and Al-Sherouk Tower. Al-Moez Group is looking to change the status quo in

Egypt of having residential complexes converted into office space by providing office buildings that are specifically designed for the needs of modern business. "With multinationals entering Egypt, a key requisite for many that is not currently available in the market is intelligent office buildings that have central management to serve an entire complex. We are looking to fill in the gap by introducing more integrated projects at internationally recognized standards."

The upcoming 24-story, 2,300 sqm Al-Moez Radwan Hotel in Mohandessin

Industry With the growth of the group's activities, corollary growth in consumption of materials followed, so the next strategic move was to integrate the process and start buying large quantities of building materials to begin trading and serving the needs of its own projects, along with supplying the increased demand of the regional construction market. Lotus for Investment's workshop for light industry activities includes woodwork and furniture fabrication as well as marble aluminum processing, which is currently expanding to develop the scale of an export-oriented operation that will establish a new line for mosaic marble to satisfy the growing requirements of the Gulf market. Similarly, Lotus Engineering Industries' heavy industry activity maintains a 70 percent export ratio to the Gulf with its focus on steel construction and the fabrication of cement batch plants that mix cement with sand and aggregate in preparation for construction. The group is increasing its investment in building materials by committing US$500 million in heavy industry with the launch of Al-Moez Cement Plant, which will occupy one million sqm and manufacture cement using raw material. "We know this business quite well due to our multilevel experience in dealing with building materials and construction, and our feasibility and demand studies have shown that demand will continue for the next 20 years due to local expansion and the regional boom in the Gulf. Such scale exceeds our capacity by 100 times, so this is an indication of our forecast of regional market conditions as well as the potential to have greater access to European markets with the Kyoto

Agreement, in which cement factories across Europe will close operations by 2010. " Background Dr. Mostafa Abdel-Moez was born in Qatar and later came to Cairo where he earned a B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from Al-Azhar University. He went on to earn an M.Sc from Kensington University, and after a period of training assumed the interests of the group's real estate division, Lotus for Investment. He believes that the key is "not only to make solid architectural projects based on design, but to also come up with successful investment ideas that truly add value."

The Al-Moez Cement Plant will have a 5-million ton capacity

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Regulating for Change The Mortgage Finance Authority is responsible for regulating Egypt's mortgage finance market, a business that is very much in its infancy but with the potential to change the fabric of the country's economy

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ne of the greatest current challenges for the Egyptian government is to fulfil its promise to provide appropriate housing for its growing population, and the establishment of a mortgage sector that could make the purchase of property affordable to the majority of Egyptians is one of the cornerstones on which current housing development policy is based. Presently, mortgage finance represents less than 0.5 percent

Property registration costs have been reduced to 3 percent of the property value, with a cap of 2,000 EGP of Egyptian GDP, even though the market grew rapidly in 2006 after four years of stagnation. The Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) was established in 2001 by the Mortgage Finance Law to address key issues that have been standing in the way of enabling finance companies to provide mortgage facilities. Property Registration The essence of a mortgage agreement is that the property being bought is offered as a collateral against a default on the loan. But without legal registration of the property, there is no prospect of the financier asserting his legal rights, producing an inefficiently high level of default risk. The fact that at least 80 percent of property in Egypt is 26

Saleh is driving the initiative to facilitate the development of mortgage business and boost the numbers of owner-occupiers

not legally registered, was a major stumbling block. This problem has been addressed by government legislation easing the process of property registration by reducing the cost to 3 percent of the property value, with a cap of 2,000 EGP . Another limiting factor on the supply side has been the availability of reliable credit information. “i score” is the first private sector credit bureau to be established in Egypt, and is helping to bridge the information gap that has been a major disincentive to investors. Selling the benefits to consumers The MFA has been proactive in selling the benefits of mortgage facilities to potential customers. For large numbers of Egyptians, the prospect of owning a home has been a remote one for many years, and not surprisingly, many consumers are sceptical about the prospect of paying for their purchase over a typical term of 20 years. In part, this reticence of Egyptian consumers is based on real economic factors-Interest rates are still relatively high in Egypt, which makes mortgaging too onerous for most Egyptians households. Help is at hand for buyers on low wages however, in the form of government funded cash subsidies, which can reduce costs by up to 15 percent for single buyers earning less than 12,000 EGP per year, or families with combined incomes of less than 18,000 EGP per year. The government sees the subsidy as a key tool in honouring its commitment to build 500,000 housing units for low earners every year for the next six years. The MFA is managing a major public awareness advertising campaign, following disappointment with the way in which the initiatives had been portrayed in the media. “The media initial-

ly presented the law in a very complicated manner," explains Osama Saleh, Chairman of the MFA. "We are trying to address this by getting more information out, in a clear and simple format." On the technical education front, the MFA has licensed over 200 mortgage brokers and 80 appraisers.. “Through special workshops, 20 banks and 121 employees have been trained, in areas such as origination, underwriting, servicing and foreclosure,” says Saleh. In the mortgage refinance front, the government, in co-operation with private financiers, has set up the Egyptian Mortgage Finance Company EMRC, whose capital presently stands at 217 million EGP. Foreign investors Now that the mortgage market is showing rapid growth, albeit from a relatively low starting point, foreign banks and financiers are showing strong interest. Amlak Finance, the largest publicly listed Islamic home finance company, has already established a base in Egypt. CEO Shahli Akram Juma states that “Egypt's institutional framework created by the Mortgage Finance Authority are at the forefront in the region.” Mohamed Abdalla, President of Coldwell Banker Middle East, also expresses his optimism about the future of the market, “due to many factors, such as the improvement in the economy since the inception of the new governmental cabinet. It also helped to count with the tremendous liquidity in the Gulf, and the introduction of the new cities around Cairo like the city of 6th of October, which is as big as all Cairo all together.”


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Al Ahly Real Estate Embraces Opportunities in the Gulf The strategic role of the GCC region in the company's plans is today stronger than ever

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l Ahly Real Estate has a long and notable history in the Egyptian real estate market. They have led development of nearly every type of real estate project you might imagine, weathering both the good and the bad times in the Egyptian marketplace. “The company grew quickly from the start, but during the severe economic crash of the late 1990's we were hit hard,” says Sabbour. “We were basically out of business from 1998 to 2003.” Everything changed in late 2003, when the economy took off and started growing again. Having lived through the hardships of that time gives Ahmed Sabbour and Al Ahly Real Estate a unique authority to be optimistic for the future. The Golden Middle Income According to Sabbour, one of Egypt's strongest advantages as an emerging real estate market lies in the growing middle income segment of its population. “In the long term the middle income segment represents a much more stable line of business than the high end of the market, which I believe is going to become saturated at a not too distant point in the future.” The Ministry of Housing has been crucial in making the middle market attractive to investors. “In my opinion, they came up with some brilliant ideas that enable private investors to acquire land for middle-income-target-

Eng. Ahmed Sabbour, Managing Director of Al Ahly Real Estate, is open for talks with investors for alliances and partnerships

ed developments, on very favorable terms.” Investors throughout the Gulf are taking note, and Al Ahly is currently in talks with several of them for business possibilities in this segment of the market. Also, a prominent North American company specialized in building budget housing approached Al Ahly recently to talk about potential areas of cooperation. Sabbour goes on to point out that although profit margins are lower in the middle market, the long-term sustainability of that line of business makes it extremely attractive. The large numers of Egyptians living in the Gulf is one of the key targets for Al Ahly: “Egyptians in the Gulf are eager to buy property in Egypt because they are earning higher incomes than at home, and want to repeat in Egypt the financial gains they realized from buying property in Dubai and other GCC markets,” says Sabbour. High-caliber shareholders are the foundation of Al Ahly Real Estate An underlying reason for Al Ahly Real Estate's leading position in Egypt is the high caliber of its shareholders, among them the National Bank of Egypt. The addition of a partnership with the Sharbatly family from Saudi Arabia has the company poised to market Egyptian properties aggressively and successfully throughout the Gulf market. Alliances and partnerships contin-

ue to be a high priority for Al Ahly. “Many other large and reputable companies from the Gulf have approached us, and we are in very advanced conversations with several of them for launching projects together,” says

About Eng. Ahmed Sabbour Ahmed Sabbour is the managing director of Al Ahly Real Estate Development Co. He earned an engineering degree from the University of Southern California in the United States, and then returned to Egypt to work with his father, Eng. Hussein F. Sabbour, Chairman of the company. Al Ahly was born as a partnership between the Sabbour family and the National Bank of Egypt.

Sabbour. “I am approached at least once a week by Gulf investors both large and small, so there is plenty of opportunity.” With their history, expertise, and array of properties in their portfolio, Al Ahly Real Estate is leading the way toward a profitable future in Egyptian real estate development. 27


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

How Gulf Investors are Bringing Real Power to the People Amlak Finance, the largest publicly listed Islamic home finance company, launches its operations in Egypt

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he massive amounts of money Gulf investors have been pouring into the Egyptian real estate market over the past few years give us plenty of valid reasons to celebrate. While most of the developments being launched by GCC-based real estate giants are luxurious tourism and residential projects catering to the highest income earners, their multiplier effect on the economy is tremendous. Through job creation, these projects will end up significantly benefiting the population's lower-income groups. This is the most basic mechanism by which an economy based on free market principles transforms the profitseeking endeavors of investors into concrete benefits for society. Amlak Finance's arrival in Egypt symbolizes a deeper, more direct way in which private investment can contribute to economic development. By catalyzing the creation of a mortgage market in Egypt, the company is poised to make a crucial contribution to one of the nation's most important social objectives–to empower a large proportion of middle- and lowerincome Egyptian families to become homeowners. CEO Shahli Akram Juma puts it this way: “Islamic finance is growing at a phenomenal rate compared to conventional banking. When you combine the burgeoning Egyptian real estate sector, which is characterized by a strong focus on niche markets, massive population growth, high inflation, and a widening gap between supply and demand for basic housing, the next crucial step is to institute reforms and introduce new services that will help stabilize the market.” Asked what key factors made Amlak choose Egypt as the country to

launch its international expansion, Juma points out that “Egypt's regulator y reforms in the real estate sector, and, in particular, the institutional framework created by the Mortgage Finance Authority are at the forefront in the region. We truly feel that the public authorities in Egypt understand what it takes to create a solid mortgage market.” Although he points out that there are still challenges in keeping inflation under control and strengthening the credit culture of the average citizen, he is “con-

“Egypt’s regulatory reforms are at the forefront in the region” fident with the way the relevant authorities are dealing with them.” Amlak is the first company in Egypt that will offer Islamic Home Finance products in accordance with Shariah principles. Asked how this will strengthen Amlak's first-mover advantage in the mortgage market, Juma says he warmly welcomes competition: “We know that being the first entrant into the market is going to put pressure on us in terms of making history by being the first company to follow the Islamic mode of financing, but our main focus is to ensure that we become an active player and set the stage for others to follow. Although conventional theory may suggest

Juma stresses Amlak's commitment to the growth of mortgage finance and home ownership in Egypt

Amlak would want to have a monopoly in the market, we would be quite tense if we did not see followers stepping in, as competition serves the industry by creating the right balance. It is extremely important for government and companies to ensure that the momentum is sustained, and that Amlak is just the start of things to come, by encouraging other investors to enter the market in order to transfer fresh ideas and differentiated solutions. The market is so diversified and contains so many segments that pose different challenges and demands, that I think one or two major players, irrespective of the size of their investments, will not be able to create a mature industry.” Amlak's long-term approach to the mortgage market in Egypt is evident–the company will offer products with tenures of up to 20 years. According to Juma, Amlak's long-term perspective is more than a necessity dictated by the nature of the business in the Egyptian market–it's a strategic issue: “If I had to work a three- to fiveyear plan, I would be hesitant about entering the market at such an undeveloped stage, but because we looked beyond five years, I felt optimistic due to the vast potential that lies here in Egypt.” The company has a fully operative office at Citystars Mall, and will provide financing for customers purchasing any type of completed property. Other innovative products will be launched throughout 2007.

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Creating a Paradise for Tourists and Residents Alike

Fattallah builds on Mena’s tradition of customer service and efficiency to expand across the region

Mena Sets the Trend from the North Coast to Cairo

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he Northern Coast is set to become the country's next tourist paradise. While it has been relatively underdeveloped compared to other Egyptian tourist destinations in recent years, Egyptian and international investors are starting to realize its huge potential. Mena for Touristic and Real Estate Investment appreciated this potential many years ago, partly because they are based in Alexandria. Vice-Chairman Gamal Fatallah points out that, “We were the first company to have the vision to do a major project on the North Coast.” In 1994 Mena became also the first to develop a compound-style residential area in Cairo, which served as a catalyst for the construction boom on the city's outskirts that has re-shaped its urban landscape during the past decade. Expanding in Geographic Scope and Services Today, the company boasts a track record of developing and marketing more than 125 unique housing projects in the region through Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Sudan. The company launched its regional expansion program early in its history when management realized they could easily replicate

their success abroad: “Leveraging upon our proven business model, we went to Lebanon and built our first compound in 1995. In 2004 we entered the Sudanese market, our first project being a 100-acre compound in Khartoum. For 2007, we are studying the possibility of launching new projects in Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and Saudi Arabia,” says Fattalah. Sudan is actually one of the firm's largest markets, where it is currently expanding its operations in the residential segment with a US$ 170 million residential compound, and is building Khartoum's new financial district-a project worth US$ 700 million. Besides expanding its geographical scope, the firm is also venturing into new services. By leveraging on its 25 years of history, Mena is launching a division which will offer consulting services to institutions, investors, and international real-estate developers. These services will range from project management to strategic advice on sales and marketing. Fatallah says the firm's evolution into a full-service real-estate operation is not farfetched, as service has always been a concept central to its business philoso-

Only 15 percent of the total area of the Mena 4 Vacations at the Alexandria-Matrouh Road project is occupied by buildings. The special plan of the compound gives most of the units the wonderful sea view.

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phy: “Our after-sales service is second to none. We provide the same level of service to clients that bought with us back in 1991 on the North Coast as we do to clients who bought with us a year ago. That is not easy to replicate, and anyone who buys something with the Mena name attached to it, knows they are dealing with an established company with a reputation for delivering what it promises.” The new division will increase the synergy of the companies within the Mena Group, which comprises real estate and development enterprises and companies involved in related activities. In June 2003, in recognition of its commitment to quality of service and efficiency, Mena became the first company in the Egyptian real estate market to obtain the ISO 9001:2000 certification. Prior to that, in 1996, the company had already established a record as the first to obtain an ISO 9002 certificate. Mena, Egypt, and the Gulf Fatallah says the company's links with the Gulf have grown rapidly over the past few years, and that 2006 marked the beginning of a joint-venture relationship with the Kuwait-based Aref Investment Group, a leading investment institution in the Middle East, and is involved in other important business ventures in Egypt. Also on the customer side of the equation, Mena expects to profit from the Gulf's renewed interest in Egypt as a residential tourism destination: “Fifteen percent of our buyers purchase properties as a second home, but we expect this percentage to increase in the coming years. Egypt has a strong investment climate, and the country is ripe for investment from the Gulf” says Fatallah.


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Raising the Bar Dar Al Handasah continues to compete with international practices due to its global exposure, regional experience, and geographical spread

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ar Al Handasah (Shair and Partners) has been a pioneering force in the planning, design and implementation of development projects in the Middle East, Africa and Asia since its beginnings in 1956. Comprising 4,000 staff members and assisting clients in over 100 countries, the group is dedicated to planning, designing and engineering facilities, installations and structures that contribute to the sustainable advance of communities worldwide. Yehia Zaki, Director of Operations for Egypt, explains that the group has a very specific strategy in the growing Egyptian market, in that they strive to complement rather than compete with local operations. “We are here to provide service for this area of the world

where our international expertise is required,” he explains. “We are very much in competition with international practices that are required in this country and in the region, but it's not our policy at any level to compete with local practices.” The Dar al Handasah group has a formidable track record of delivery on major worldclass projects. “For instance, we are very proud to have been heavily involved in the aviation sector, and we have been ranked amongst the first five companies in the world within our industry, based on contracts.” The company has a strong presence in Cairo, directly employing more than

“We have the international exposure, regional experience, and the geographical spread. Most importantly, we speak the language and we know the culture.” Yehia Zaki, Director or Operations, Egypt, Dar Al Handasah

1,000 people, a thorough understanding of Egyptian culture and practice, and a unique ability to deliver complex projects of the highest quality, even under severe time restraints. “People in Egypt, and especially those coming to work with us, know what we mean when we talk about the 'Handasah Quality'”.

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Boom Times Ahead as Egypt's FDI Takes Off Recent economic figures are the result of years of sustained reform efforts, says Helmy

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e sat down with Taher Helmy, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, Managing Partner of Baker & McKenzie's Cairo office, and long-time economic reform insider, for an open conversation on Egypt's current economic environment, its future potential, and the institutional framework that sustains it. Egypt's macroeconomic figures have been making headlines all over the world lately. How much of this success would you attribute to current economic reform efforts? Egypt is entering a phase of very fast economic growth. GDP grew 6.7 percent during the past fiscal year, with foreign direct investment (FDI) reaching over US$ 6 billion during the same period, and already surpassing US$6 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal year. That means we must be doing something right, something that has to do with the way we are managing the economy, and not only with the high levels of regional and global liquidity. Investment is pouring into Egypt from all over the world, from the US to the Gulf, from Europe to India and China. In 2006 we had great success stories like Gruppo Sanpaolo IMI buying 80 percent of the Bank of Alexandria for US$ 1.6 billion, nearly six times its estimated book value, and Amoun Pharmaceuticals selling a 93 percent stake to a consortium of international private equity investors for almost half a billion USD one of the largest private equity transactions in Egyptian history. This diversity of the sources and targets of FDI is noteworthy, and, in my opinion, shows that Egypt is doing a good job earning the trust of the global business community. This, of course, has been largely due to the commitment and 32

performance of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and his Cabinet, who are giving maximum priority to the issue of economic reform. Investors from the GCC region have been particularly enthusiastic about investing in Egypt over the past few years. How would you evaluate the sustainability of this enthusiasm? Investors from the GCC have been especially enthusiastic in real estate, where we have seen major Gulfbased developers like Emaar Real Estate, whose purchases on the North Coast and other locations across the country were over a billion US dollars. Significant amounts of private and public money being invested in infrastructure, from toll roads to power- generation plants to ports, airports, and previously neglected areas like railway transportation, will provide the backup for further urban development, and, therefore, real estate growth. So we are witnessing a cycle where investment in infrastructure boosts real estate growth, which in turn creates the incentive to invest more in infrastructure - and this cycle, in my opinion, will also help increase FDI figures in the future. If you add to this the strength of the recovery in other areas of the economy due to the fortunate policy guidelines being implemented, this cycle has the potential to become stronger - in tourism, Egyptian coasts will continue to attract investment to develop resorts and other projects; natural gas pro-

Helmy is confident of Egypt's recent economic take off, as it has been hard-earned through years of gradual institutional reform

duction and exports are reaching record highs; and the surge in our manufactured exports will continue to provide a strong incentive to expand

“Egypt's economic performance is not happening in an institutional vacuum� industrial zones. Another key factor that contributes to the sustainability of our current FDI figures is that a large part of it is being directed to key services that provide the foundation of a strong market economy, such as telecommunications and information


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

technology. Here, the purchase of the third mobile phone license by the UAE's Etisalat for US$ 2.9 billion was almost double the expected amount, which in itself says a lot about investors' confidence in Egypt. You mentioned Gulf investors' enthusiasm for the Egyptian real estate market, which is growing very fast. However, this growth has taken place mostly in the high-end segment of the market, with spectacular tourism, residential, and commercial developments taking place all over the country. What would be the next step to enhance the role of real estate growth in Egypt's economic development? I had the pleasure to work very closely with Hernando de Soto for a long time, during his studies of the informal economy in Egypt. In the late 1990s, a study made by the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES) in close cooperation with the Hernando de Soto Institute of Liberty and Democracy, estimated that the total value of unregistered property in Egypt was approximately US$ 240 billion. The challenge lies in creating an institutional framework that facilitates the registration of all this property, much of which is owned by the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society. This would turn these properties into “live capital,” that is, assets that can be used as collateral for bank loans and to improve and build homes, and, most importantly, start new businesses. A fully functioning housing market is definitely the key to a dynamic market economy, and important measures have already been implemented to reduce the cost and simplify procedures of property registration. Although much work still needs to be done to fully realize the potential of unregistered property, it is very encouraging to see that the current government has mortgage finance reform at the top of its economic agenda. What would you say are the most important challenges that need to be addressed to sustain the momentum in economic growth? Our most important economic chal-

lenge is to create work opportunities for 700,000 new entrants in the job market every year. We need sustainability and consistent performance in the economy to achieve this. In my opinion, we have to sustain our cur-

“Important measures have been implemented to reduce the cost of property registration” rent economic growth rates for the next 10 years. And what makes me optimistic about Egypt's capacity for achieving this is that the economic figures of late are not purely the result of short-term events. Our economic performance is not happening in an institutional vacuum; quite the contrary, we have been working on economic reform for a long time, since the mid 1970s, when we first opened up the economy for the private sector. Back then the government controlled most of the economy; now the situation is the opposite, with the private sector controlling the bulk of economic activity. Our second historical threshold came in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when we introduced the concept of privatization. I actually participated in the drafting of Public Enterprise Law, Law 203. This law provided the framework for staging an important turning point, the privatization of government-owned companies to private investors for better management, expansion, and performance. Another milestone in the early 1990s was the adoption of a Capital Markets Law that created the base for our stock market, and other key areas of our capital markets. During the mid 1990's we also witnessed increased participation from the private sector in infrastructure projects previously reserved for the government, in areas such as telecom, power plants, and seaports. And, more recently, Telecom

Egypt issued the largest IPO in the country's history. This had a tremendous impact on the international perception of Egypt's economic strength and commitment to market reforms. So, the process of transitioning to a market economy led by the private sector has been successful, but of course, it has taken time. It is simply not possible to go from a centrally planned economy to a market economy overnight - it is necessary to change institutions and the relationship between the private sector and the government. Today, the government has a more regulatory and supervisory role in the economy and is definitely giving up its role as owner-manager of companies. A good example is the creation of very efficient institutions, such as the National Telecommunications Regulation Authority (NTRA), and the recently established Egyptian Competition Authority. Our country is now in the process of modifying its constitution to reflect this transition from a centrally planned economy to a market-oriented one. This reflects the country's long-term commitment to an economic model that is now a national reality. You have been an important advocate of tax reform in Egypt. How satisfied are you with the progress achieved in this area so far? I have always been an advocate of reducing tax rates, and implementing a flat corporate tax rate. This is a prime example of the improved dialogue and understanding between the private and public sectors in Egypt. The current cabinet had the determination to implement the flat corporate tax rate regime, the beauty of which is that it actually increases tax revenues, as has been the case in Egypt, because it dramatically simplifies taxfiling procedures and increases the tax base. It was implemented in conjunction with the elimination of tax holidays and exemptions, and an amnesty with regards to past tax filings. The result is that we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of businesses filing their taxes, and, of course, this has also contributed to the dramatic increase in private investment the country has enjoyed.

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Egyptian Gulf Bank Looks Forward to Bright Future Prospects With a new CEO and strategic plan in the making, this bank is set to profit from Egypt's banking reforms and strong economic growth

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gyptian Gulf Bank (EGB), a Omar A. Alseesi took over as CEO early well-established player in this year to implement a strategic overEgypt's banking sector, has haul that will set a new and exciting recorded strong growth over course for EGB the past few years, highlighted by a 311 percent increase in profits in FY 2005. In the same period, EGB We also have other products for new group of local and international banks increased its paid capital to US$ 127 graduates and the promising emerging led by the Cairo-based Egyptian million. Recently-appointed Managing mortgage finance market.” American Bank. Director and CEO Omar A. Alseesi said Mr. Alseesi is particularly interest“The mortgage reform process led the bank's outlook is exciting. ed in the bank's expansion plans in the by the Economic Cabinet and the “EGB is a bank that has excellent area of mortgage finance. During 2004 Mortgage Finance Authority are creatpotential to profit from ing the necessary the strong economic regulatory condigrowth in Egypt and tions and legal Egyptian and Arab businessmen established Egyptian Gulf Bank the Middle East. framework for mortAlong with my senior gage finance. This, (EGB) as a joint stock company in October 1981 with a 100 milmanagement team, I'm and the significant lion EGP mutual fund. The bank began operations in November about to finish a fivepent-up demand 1983. Egyptian Gulf Bank has 10 branches in Cairo, Alexandria, year strategic plan that within our growing will clearly define the Mansoura, and 10th of Ramadan. It offers such services as retail population, ensures general direction the that the market is and online banking, small business services, bill payments, fund bank will take to ready to take off,” he transfers, telebanking, swift services, as well as financial services achieve its full growth said. such as trade finance, foreign exchange, time deposits, saving potential, and deterThe challenges mine the specific areas are by no means accounts, credit cards, personal loans and Islamic banking services. of expansion we see as insignificant, but Mr. The bank's corporate clients are mainly in telecommunications, most promising. Retail Alseesi believes the electricity, gas, and fertilizers. The main shareholders are the and consumer banking potential for profit will be key priorities, makes the risk of Mohamed Mahmoud Family (MM Group) and the Misr Insurance and we are about to entering the busiCompany, both of which own 20 percent. Arab investors have a launch a number of tainess at an early 45 percent share in the bank, and the remaining 15 percent of the lor-made products for stage worthwhile: segments of the popushares are free-floated on the stock market. “We have had high lation. We are deterinterest rates in mined to promote a Egypt for many culture in Egypt that years, and obviously encourages stronger saving habits, he was involved in the creation of this has been an obstacle for mortgage and will offer products that address Egypt's first private sector mortgage finance to flourish. I am confident the crucial market needs, such as finance company, the Egyptian Housing government's monetary and macroecotools for paying university tuition fees. Finance Company, established by a nomic measures will win the inflation 34


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

battle in the short term, and result in an environment of low interest rates. In spite of this, we at EGB are convinced of the need to launch mortgage finance now to capitalize on the advantage of being an early entrant in the market. In this endeavor we are trying to find a financial engineering formula that will enable us to offer finance to low- and medium-income people at interest rates of between 6-8 percent, in an environment of 9-10 percent market rates. One possible way to achieve this is to invest directly in the developments and turnkey projects our customers are buying into, and use part of the profits

Egyptian Gulf Bank's branch at Mohandessin

“We are determined to promote a culture in Egypt that encourages stronger saving habits” earned to compensate for the lower interest rates charged. We are in the process of creating a mortgage finance company at the bank with a new partner that will provide the specialized technical expertise in this field.” Also, according to Mr. Alseesi, the real-estate market in Egypt is at a very early stage in its development, which inevitably creates conditions ripe for speculation. This is the most important factor that stands in the way of housing becoming affordable to the general population. But, in Mr. Alseesi's view, prices will converge to lower levels as the market matures: “The problem in the housing market is affordability, more than a lack of financing. Because we are in the development phase of the market, there's always a lot of dust

in the air that needs to settle. Much of the dust is being stirred by speculation, causing artificial price inflation. But as more investors come into the sector and the regulatory framework strengthens, healthy competition should drive the market towards an equilibrium characterized by lower prices.” Discussing the interest Gulf investors will show in investing in Egypt's nascent mortgage market, Mr. Alseesi asserts that, “in the GCC, there are obvious limitations for investment in mortgage services. The smaller populations of these countries, as well as ownership restrictions on expatriates and foreign workers, will inevitably drive investors in this field

Alseesi is particularly interested in the area of mortgage finance to look for opportunities abroad. In this sense, Egypt has much more potential in terms of demand, both for high-end

and low-income housing, which also provides the diversification capacity wise investors look for.”

“Real estate prices will converge to lower levels as the market matures” During his 28 years in banking, Mr. Alseesi has been Managing Director of Arab Investment Bank, General Manager of the Tunis Arab African Bank, an adviser to the chairman of Delta International Bank, and head of the international division at Kuwait's Burgan Bank. He presided on the board of the Bank of Alexandria for 2 years. His international experience includes working in the United Kingdom as a general manager with Arab African International Bank, and as a Director with American Express, where he was responsible for overseeing operations in the Gulf region. He has held several positions in Beirut, Kuwait, and Bahrain. 35


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

No Reason to Rest on our Laurels El-Tahry urges “Innovation and Aggression” as the recipe for sustaining prosperity Aly El-Tahry's pioneering approach to delivering financial services has been a key to Beltone Financial's outstanding growth

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ly El-Tahry, highly respected co-founder and board member of Beltone Financial, has a resolutely upbeat message about Egypt's economic prospects, and urges investors and business leaders to be innovative and aggressive in what he sees as a highly promising, but fiercely competitive economic environment. El-Tahry, who was named by Global Finance Magazine as one of the world's 600 most powerful people in finance, has been crucial to the rise of Beltone Financial, one of the fastest growing financial institutions in the region. El-Tahry is sanguine about Egypt's current economic environment, but urges: “It reminds me of 1997” he says. “The preceding three years a good deal was done to position Egypt as a destination for capital. There had been lots of investment in infrastructure and privatization, but it all ended very quickly with a liquidity crisis.” Now he stresses the need to make sure that market reforms work their way down through the institutions, creating the right conditions for it to really flourish. Positive trends in the region are pointing to greater opportunities, and El-Tahry believes that Egypt is now well placed to attract further investment in a region where cross-border capital flows are becoming much more commonplace, but with strong regional competition for attracting capital from the likes of the UAE, the key challenge for Egypt is, he believes, to 'brand' itself in order to play to its strengths. As El-Tahry talks about Beltone's future, it is clear that he is heeding his own advice. The company is looking to innovation and a stronger regional presence to build on its considerable success, for example by its involvement in hedge funding though the Mena Capital joint venture, and also by investing in a firmer regional presence, firstly in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. For El-Tahry, who has seen his career and his business progress and mature at a time when the country has experienced considerable growing pains, there is every reason to anticipate further prosperity. “We worry much more about a toddler catching cold than an adolescent. Our economy has become an adolescent and is much more resilient to shocks.”

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

A Market Leader in Mortgage Finance Housing and Development Bank's extraordinary growth serves as an example of the potential of the nascent Egyptian mortgage finance market

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he Housing and Development Bank (HDB) is driving a major change in Egyptian finance, and in doing so, is making the dream of home ownership attainable for the first time for a large number of people. Mr. Fathy Elsebai Mansour, the Chairman of HDB, is passionate about his organization's mission, and the positive benefits it can bring to Egyptian society: “There is no doubt in my mind that the mortgage system is about to take off, and that its socioeconomic impact will be tremendous. Once the regular man on the street can afford his own home, he will experience a big boost in motivation. It's such a powerful phenomenon that I think it has a chance of totally transforming our economy and society.” A market with huge potential And if there were any doubt that HDB's services were meeting a sub-

“There is no doubt in my mind that the mortgage system is about to take off” stantial and growing need in the Egyptian market, then the company's outstanding financial results seem to provide all the reassurance that might be needed. Serving some 400,000 customers in the fields of economic and low cost housing, HDB's profits grew by 58 percent last year to 110 million EGP, and in the same period, its mar-

Mansour sees HDB's financial performance as an indicator of the potential of the Egyptian mortgage market

ket capitalization increased four times. HDB has been active in the provision of mortgage finance since 2001, when the Mortgage Finance Act first enabled mortgage-based finance to be pro-

Last year, HDB's profits grew 58 percent and its market capitalization increased four times

ing needs of the Egyptian population. As Mr. Mansour explained, “I think the market is huge, and I am pleased to see interest from the Gulf on the rise, as we have already been in discussions with several companies from the region. Although the mortgage law introduced in 2001 is very comprehen-

vided to owner-occupiers. The Bank has since provided advice to government on how to overcome obstacles to market growth, such as an uncertain property registration system, the general need to raise public awareness of mortgage finance, and of the benefits it offers to consumers. HDB has a positive approach to the expansion of the market, and is actively encouraging new providers, particularly from established international markets such as Europe and the Gulf, to consider entering the market. Mr. Mansour sees the possibility of a future merger with the Egyptian Arab Land Bank as a means of accelerating the growth of the overall market.

since 2002. He also serves as a

Experience of foreign companies is crucial This inclusive approach to the participation of foreign providers is a mark of HDB's confidence in the future of the mortgage finance market, and its key role in meeting the future hous-

About Fathy Elsebai Mansour Mr. Mansour has been Chairman and Managing Director of HDB board representative on the New Urban Communities Organization. Prior to joining HDB, Mr. Mansour held a number of senior positions in financial organizations, including Citibank, Jammal Trust Bank, the Saudi Investment Bank and the Cairo International Bank.

sive, we realize we are in the early stages of development, so the need for experience from more established players from the West or the Gulf is crucial. The recent entrance of Amlak Finance in the market is a case in point, which will boost confidence for other investors in the region to come. Ultimately, competition will help all players improve the efficiency and quality of the sector.” 37


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

BNP Paribas Leverages on its Global and Regional Presence to Strengthen its Position in Egypt

Joannier: “Clichés about Egypt vanish quickly when people realize the outstanding level of the country's banking professionals”

The bank expects strong growth in retail banking, plans a strong expansion of its branch network and sees big potential in mortgage finance BNP Paribas is an exemplary case study of the growing confidence of foreign banks in the Egyptian market during the last years, and of the potential that lies ahead for the country's economic transformation. With the strong economic development of the country, the bank has looked to upgrade its operations in Egypt in all its areas of activity. Philippe Joannier, Country Head for Egypt, arrived to the country a year ago and confesses that he was impressed by the high level of the country's banking professionals: “Every time we have a seminar in Egypt we have people from other countries who are very surprised of how modern, how internationally-minded the people are here. Whatever clichés they had about the country quickly fall apart as soon as they start interacting at a professional level with Egyptians. It's important to realize what it really means to be the most populous country in the Arab world in terms of business potential and this is reflected in the balance sheets of key local and international companies based in the country.” This potential is being taken very seriously by BNP itself, and is the base for an aggressive growth program that the bank is launching to significantly increase its market penetration in retail banking, and further strengthen its

already established presence in corporate banking, treasury and private banking. Increasing the bank's branch network is also a key priority for Joannier: “In 2006 we grew from 10 to 30 branches, and this year we intend to go from 30 to 50. This growth should continue in the years to come and the idea is to have a firm presence all throughout Egypt.” The nascent mortgage market is another area where Joannier sees big potential for growth and he is watching carefully the developments of the market: “The Government has made a big effort to develop this crucial market and now the challenge is to consolidate the legal framework and create a cultural acceptance of controversial issues of the mortgage system, such as property repossession.” About his expectations of the role that the links between Egypt and the Gulf will play in BNP's future, Joannier points out that “We have a very strong presence in the Gulf, especially in the investment banking, corporate banking, treasury and private banking segments, and naturally, we leverage on that strong presence for obtaining references of clients who want to come to do business in Egypt. Our expectations for foreign business are high, due to the expected

US$8 billion avalanche in foreign direct investment expected to come to Egypt this year.” And BNP's strong international network ensures that the bank can cope with this avalanche: “Locally, we have an important Treasury and Foreign

BNP Paribas plans to take advantage of the strengthening of investment links with the GCC through its regional presence Exchange team which is one of the major players of the Egyptian market. Furthermore, our corporate banking team is regularly involved in prominent finance operations involving syndicated loans and bond issues, and benefits from the support of our international project finance team in the region, London or Paris.”

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Providing the Link Export Development Bank of Egypt looks to bring Egyptian industry to the forefront of the Arab world

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xport success is a crucial factor in Egypt's economic growth. Exports account for around 25 percent of the Egyptian economy, and are an area of considerable potential for growth in the current climate of increasing globalization and world demand. The Export Development Bank of Egypt plays a significant role in enabling Egyptian companies to develop new business. Since 2003, the Bank has focused entirely on promoting exports in agriculture, industry and services. At the same time, the Bank is investing heavily in further developing

“Export or Die” is now a central strategic pilar in Egypt's economic development

labor, here we are employing our labor and upgrading it. So I think the competition and interest in the region will definitely give us the opportunity to further improve our human resources.” The strategy of the Export Development Bank is a crucial element in the Egyptian Hisham Ahmed Hassan, Chairman government's economof the Export Development Bank ic strategy. “Export or of Egypt, which is supporting the Die” is now a central export driven dimension of strategic pillar in Egypt's economic growth Egypt's development, as it has been in many other countries before. With a firm reputation in the Gulf for the manufacture of quality products such as steel, cement, ceramic products and marble,

In order to encourage and promote Egyptian exports, Export Development Bank of

its own people and upgrading its systems to meet the changing demands of international business and ensure that Egyptian exporters receive the optimum quality services they need to compete on the world stage.

Egypt provides the following

Strategic Opportunities

Medium and Long Term Finance

Hisham Ahmed Hassan, Chairman of the Bank, sees unique opportunities for Egyptian suppliers that determine the Bank's overall strategy: “I think that by upgrading the quality and number of manufacturing facilities, we will be able to absorb the new entrants into the market that are coming with highend standards/know-how, and this transfer of knowledge will benefit the market as a whole,” explains Hassan. “Our major challenge within Egypt is human capital development, and while in other countries they are importing 40

services: Short-Term Finance

Small and Medium Enterprise Banking

Egypt's key manufactured goods are very much in demand given the high level of activity in construction sectors throughout the region. The fast rhythm of real estate development in the Gulf is a major opportunity for Egyptian sup-

The fast rhythm of real estate development in the Gulf is a major opportunity for Egyptian suppliers pliers in this sector, as will be the extensive reconstruction program that is planned for Lebanon. By giving priority to labor-intensive manufacturing industries, Egypt is playing to some of its key comparative advantages, such as a ready supply of low-cost labor, energy supplies and natural resources, and is also ensuring that the growth in export business is creating significant numbers of much needed jobs in main areas.


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

“The Export Development Bank is playing a crucial role in Egypt's burgeoning export business” Key Services Export Development Bank facilitates the growth in export business, primarily by providing financing facilities to enable businesses to deliver international orders, where the size of orders is often higher, and the payment terms longer than would normally be the case for domestic business. The finance that the Bank can offer also extends to longer term facilities, such as are often needed to modernize an operation and enable a business to compete with companies in other countries, by improving productivity and efficiency. The bank can also intervene to secure the supply of strategic imports, such as materials that cannot be sourced locally and are intrinsic to the completion of export orders. Alternatively it can finance import substitution arrangements, enabling a local supplier to meet a demand that had previously been sourced from a foreign supplier. Similarly, the Bank is financing developments in real estate to enable the growth of service industries, such as tourism, that are themselves major earners of foreign currency. In addition to financial services, the Bank offers export credit guarantee facilities that enable exporters to minimize their exposure to credit risk, specialist services for small and medium sized enterprises, and is also developing information, counseling and support services for exporting companies through its Export Information Center. The Export Information Center complements the Bank's financial services by providing a trusted source of impartial information, both for new exporters and for more experienced

companies who may be looking to trade with new markets. The Bank also provides 'softer' market information on trends, specific opportunities and key events such as trade fairs and delegations. Export Development Bank is playing a crucial role in Egypt's burgeoning export business. The Gulf, Europe and North America are the main markets for Egyptian exports, and as well as consolidating Egyptian suppliers' share in these markets, the Bank is enabling many exporters to locate opportunities in new markets, such as Asia. The Export Credit Guarantee Services provide a wide range of facilities for underwriting short and longerterm credit that many exporters would be unable to support from their own

About Hisham Ahmed Hassan

Hisham Ahmed Hassan worked at Chase National Bank (now Commercial International Bank) for 20 years, then became Managing Director of Suez Canal Bank, after which he was appointed as the Chairman of Export Development Bank of Egypt. He serves on the Board of Directors of many financial

Financial Sources The Bank operates with authorized capital of one billion EGP. The principal shareholders are National Investment Bank, Banque Du Caire, Misr Bank and National Bank of Egypt. It utilizes a range of financing sources including the Egyptian government, the European Investment Bank, the African Development Bank, the European

By giving priority to labor-intensive manufacturing industries, Egypt is playing to some of its key comparative advantages, such as a ready supply of lowcost labor, energy supplies and natural resources

institutions, and actively participates in many social functions aimed at increasing awareness of Egyptian industry abroad. resources. Finally, the Bank works to attract major foreign investments that will boost new job creation and export earnings. Egypt has achieved significant success in attracting foreignowned business to open operations in the country, and is building on its reputation for stability and availability of reliable labor.

Community ASDP, the USAID Agency for International Development and the Arab Trade Finance Program. The Bank has been instrumental and dynamic in the achievement of Egypt's strong and sustained economic growth, which Mr. Hassan believes is leading to a major change in the international perception of Egypt as a remarkable export hub: “We are helping manufacturers to export to other countries, and with the sustained growth that we have seen over the past couple of years, Egypt will emerge as a significant hub for exports within the region.” 41


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Building a New Focus Delta Chairperson Neveen El Tahri sees the potential in partially shifting focus from a traditional European client base to collaborating more with the Arab world

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elta Egypt is a major name in the Egyptian finance and securities sector. Neveen El Tahri is Chairperson of the group, which comprises three companies: • Delta Securities delivers a full range of brokerage, bookkeeping and research services to select retail clients, as well as local and foreign institutions. • ABN -AMRO Delta manages mutual funds and various types of portfolios such as trading portfolios, private equity portfolios as well as a venture capital portfolio. • Delta Investments is the investment arm of the group. El Tahri sees outstanding potential in the Egyptian market across a very diverse range of sectors that is only now beginning to be realized. “The key is that we now have a business-minded government that actually has the capacity to make things work regardless of the obstacles. Instead of focusing on obstacles, the question now is how we can implement change.” The company has close links with European clients, but is now seeking to build on the existing base by developing links with more investors from the Gulf. "I think one of the main areas of potential rests in the fact that you have outdated management in a number of public sector enterprises in Egypt, so there is a huge portfolio of assets that have not been properly utilized. In this regard, the potential is unlimited, because we live in a country that actually has enormous potential across various economic sectors, so what is interesting here is the diversity of investment opportunities

www.delta-securities.com

available along with the growing consumer base to fuel demand.” By building upon its successful track record and continuing to provide innovative solutions, Chairperson Neveen El Tahri is looking to seize the opportunity of increased cooperation with other Arab markets. “We are keen on seeing collaboration with Arab markets in response to the increased investment activity that we have seen over the past couple of years. We are looking to introduce E-Solutions as a key service to provide to the Gulf market in order to provide clients with remote access and allow for information flow at the end-user's fingertips. The opportunity presents itself now to create a real synergy that matches the liquidity and regional spread of Gulf investments with the asset base here in Egypt, and we see our technical know-how and extensive experience in the market as the key to providing the link.” El Tahri gained a taste of international business from an early age. One of three daughters of an Egyptian diplomat, her childhood was spent in South America, Western Europe and the Middle East. At the age of 15, she returned to Egypt, her family home, but unable to speak any Arabic. Encouraged by her father, she attended Cairo University, and graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science in 1980. After marrying and raising a family, she embarked on a career in banking, firstly working as

www.abnamro-delta.com

El Tahri states that the beauty of the mortgage market is that "it is one of the only industries in the world that can take off from square one."

a teller in the Chase National Bank, where she rose quickly to management, before leaving to start business as Delta Stockbrokers, successfully applying for

The company is now seeking to build stronger links with investors from the Gulf one of Egypt's first brokerage licenses. Following investment by ABN AMRO, and a subsequent buy-back, El Tahri is at the helm of an innovative group of companies, with an enviable track record in Egypt's growing financial sector. She is also part of the Young President's Organization (YPO), where she works to motivate and inspire young girls of family business organizations. The numerous promotions she has received symbolize the trust she has gained through her business endeavors.

www.delta-investments.com

31 Geziret El Arab Street • Mohandessin • 12411 Cairo • Egypt • Tel: +202 34 72 120 • Fax:+202 34 72 180

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Delivering Real Estate Business with a Financial Twist Naeem Holding is introducing Egypt's first financial product with an underlying real estate asset strategy behind it

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ver since the Naeem Company was launched in 2003, its founders had a vision for a regional organization. Just two years later, Naeem Holdings was established in Egypt, with the aim of creating a perfect match between the liquidity of the Gulf, and the potential in Egypt in terms of assets, real estate and a government determined to create a fertile environment for new investment. The Egyptian operation was founded with capital funds of US$ 600 million, and now has a staff of 340 highly qualified professionals. Ahmed Naim Badr, the company's CEO and Managing Director, knows the Egyptian financial sector well, having

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“If everybody sees the same opportunity, then it is not a real opportunity.” Ahmed Naim Badr, CEO and Managing Director, Naeem Holding

grown up in the country, and worked in banking for sixteen years. But his confidence in Egypt's economy goes beyond its potential for growth in financial services: “I think Egypt is the next business hub once Dubai is saturated. The cost of operations in Dubai is very high and people will look for other centers where they can have their back up operations–Egypt will be particularly well placed to attract the back-offices of multinational companies,” says Badr. Naeem Holding is in the process of setting up a mortgage finance operation in partnership with other international players. Badr is convinced about the potential for growth in Egyptian real

estate prices as business confidence continues to grow, pointing out that two thirds of the GDP of economies such as the United States comes from real estate and mortgage business. Naeem Holding's strongest contribution to the evolution of the real estate business in Egypt will be the launch of the country's first real estate investment fund. “Real estate is in the end an asset class, and we are in a particularly strong position to capitalize from this. We are in a unique position to offer our customers the opportunity of investing in the real estate business in the form of a financial product,” says Badr.


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

BLOM Bank's Tradition of Success is Set to Continue in Egypt In little more than a year since its entrance into the Egyptian market, BLOM Bank has delivered strong results

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ebanon's largest and most profitable bank, BLOM Bank, had a remarkable year in 2006. Its impressive business results earned it almost every conceivable accolade from the international financial press: Bank of the Year from The Banker, Best Bank in Lebanon and Best Investment Bank in Lebanon from Euromoney, and Best Bank in Lebanon from Global Finance. Capital Intelligence, a specialized Middle East rating agency, has consistently rated BLOM as the strongest financial institution among Lebanese banks over the past few years. At home, the bank's growth strategy is ambitious: it aims to increase its current market share of 9 percent in loans to 20 percent in the long term. But BLOM's plans go beyond its domestic market and Egypt has the potential to fulfill them. Back in 2005 the bank discreetly arrived in the country by buying medium-sized Misr-Romania Bank (MRB) for 580 million EGP. MRB was re-branded BLOM Bank Egypt after the acquisition, capital was increased to 500 million EGP , the quality

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Samaha likes growth, but service quality and operational efficiency are his highest priorities

of the loan portfolio of the bank is improving as a result of more adequate provisions, and the bank recently released its 2006 results, boasting a net profit of close to 64 million EGP. “I think this is a very good start. The net profit figure is encouraging, as well as the 44 percent increase in total loans and 23 percent increase in total deposits, also achieved during 2006,” says Samaha. But Samaha points out his focus is not limited to financials at the moment quite the contrary: “Of course, we expect our profits to grow during 2007, along with our network. But our approach to the Egyptian market is not purely growth-oriented, as a major emphasis is placed on getting the operations right and, above all, achieving excellent quality of service for our customers. At the moment we are overhauling all our systems infrastructure, investing heavily in developing our employees both new staff and previous members of the MRB team and soon we will re-design our corporate image.” The measures are starting to bear fruit. BLOM Bank Egypt inaugurated its own collection of awards recently when it

won the “International Arch of Europe” in the Gold Category, in recognition of its commitment to quality, leadership, technology, and innovation. The Award is administered by Business Initiative Directions (BID), a Madrid-based, internationally renowned consultancy in Total Quality Management and Corporate Communications. Since 1975, BID has awarded similar distinctions to companies of the caliber of Coca-Cola, K-Mart, and British American Tobacco. Samaha sees interesting opportunities ahead for working with Gulf investors eager to invest in Egypt: “We are certainly capitalizing on BLOM Bank's presence in Dubai to talk to investors who want to do business in Egypt. We will seize opportunities to work closer together with investors from the area in the near future, and are already talking to some of them about some concrete possibilities. After all, we are in a very good position to guide them through the process: BLOM Bank itself is rapidly becoming a successful case of foreign direct investment in Egypt.”


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

A Restructuring that Pays Dividends The United Bank's acquisition of Islamic International Bank for Investment and Development, the United Bank of Egypt and the Nile Bank, gives birth to a new force in the Egyptian banking sector

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he United Bank is a major new force in Egyptian finance. Founded in July 2006 by the Central Bank of Egypt, the bank acquired ownership of the United Bank of Egypt, the Islamic International Bank for Investment and Development, and the Nile Bank. It is a concrete result of the government's strategy to reform the country's fragmented banking sector, creating a

An important part of the bank's competitive strategy is to build on the Shariah-compliant activities of the former Nile Bank and United Bank of Egypt strong competitor from three smaller operations. Mohamed Ashmawy, the Chairman and Managing Director of United Bank, has a clear strategic focus: “We have three objectives,” he explains. “First is to consolidate the smaller banks in one entity and to have common objectives. Second, to upgrade the banking standards to international levels; and third, to clean and improve the quality of the consolidated loan portfolio. This would

“I always wanted to do something special for my country, and this is a unique opportunity to do it.” Mohamed Ashmawy, Chairman and Managing Director, United Bank

achieve the total conversion of smaller banking transactions into a large internationally renowned bank of acceptable standards.” The United Bank has already taken steps to consolidate the activities of the three constituent banks, investing in new technology, and developing innovative products to meet market demands. An important part of the bank's competitive strategy is to build on the Shariah-compliant activities of the former Nile Bank and United Bank of Egypt, launching a new family of Islamic products and services under the name Rakha'a–meaning “Prosperity”–ranging from everyday banking transactions, to loans and investment services. The bank is in a strong position to play a leading role in the developing mortgage market in Egypt, not least because the bank is a major owner of real estate in its own right. It has launched a mortgage real estate company, the Egyptian Real Estate Development Company, with capital of 100 million EGP, set to increase to 500 million EGP as the market grows. Another important element in the bank's development strategy is in building relations with foreign investors, launching personalized services to meet their needs. In this respect, Mr. Ashmawy sees the United Bank's strong Egyptian credentials as providing an important unique selling point: “We are a suitable partner for foreign investors because we have a strong local presence and partnership spirit, and we are in compliance with the Shariah Law for Islamic banking, which is very important for Gulf

investors. So we are equipped for working both locally and internationally.”

“We are a suitable partner for foreign investors because we have a strong local presence and partnership spirit" Most importantly, Mr. Ashmawy is determined that the United Bank will never rest on its laurels. The development strategy involves an extensive training programme for staff, and the expansion of the current branch structure into new areas, to enable the bank to provide a truly national service. “It's all about human responsibility and how you manage your tasks. Nobody is perfect, but you have to know how to do your work and select the best domestic experience for doing business on a local scale. It is this mentality that will enable the bank to grow.” 47


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Celebrating Over 30 Years of Remarkable Growth National Bank of Abu Dhabi strives to be the number one foreign bank in Egypt by continuously providing customers with the best banking services

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rom the early days of a makeshift branch in Port Said, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has grown into an industry leader in the Egyptian financial market. “It's amazing,” says Al A'assar. “The Port Said branch opened with poorly equipped wooden rooms, and now is a showplace for the state-of-the-art technology and design of all our branch offices.” How did NBAD transform itself from newcomer to industry leader? “The support and spirit of our staff always has been, and continues to be, the underlying reason for our success,” notes Al A'assar. “We go to great pains to ensure they are among the best educated and best trained in all of Egypt. This gives them the edge in providing outstanding financial and customer services.” NBAD's ties with Egypt run deep and strong NBAD has deep roots in Egypt and is well known as one of the largest banks in the region. Despite its size, however, NBAD Egypt remains focused on serving the unique needs of the Egyptian marketplace. ”We were the first Arab bank to invest in Egypt when the economy opened up in the mid 1970's,” says Al A'assar. “Our relations with Egypt are strong partly because of the country's historical links with the Gulf, and partly because of our comprehensive understanding of the Egyptian market.” Its commitment to excellence in service as well as leading financial products has built NBAD Egypt into the largest foreign unit of NBAD. “The Egyptian market is a very secure and 48

stable investment location, and thus easily attracts capital investment,” notes Al A'assar. “Coupled with recent improvements in market regulations, I see tremendous investment potential in Egypt for the foreseeMr. Abdel Aziz Al A'assar oversees NBAD Egypt, able future.” He goes on encompassing 20 branches covering key busito say, “This is the first ness hubs throughout the country. time Egypt has seen cabinet ministers working hard as a team, and in the right direcAbout Mr. Abdel Aziz tion, to attract investment in different areas.” Al A'assar Bringing benefit to the entire Egyptian marketplace The role NBAD plays in the marketplace is not only as industry leader, but also industry standard-developer. “Many people working in the banking sector need advanced training to be more efficient on the job,” says Al A'assar. “We are actively introducing new tools and controls to support new institutions and raise standards for all competitors. Furthermore, we emphasize new technology to help bring the banks in Egypt up to international standards of IT and telecommunications.” When asked what the future holds for NBAD and the whole banking sector in Egypt, Al A'assar becomes quite enthusiastic. “With the current healthy state of capital markets and independency of the central bank, I think things are moving in the right direction,” he says. “We now need large Egyptian banks to expand alongside their international counterparts and embrace new market innovations.”

Abdel Aziz Al A'assar is NBAD's regional manager for Egypt. His career in the Egyptian banking industry began in 1960 with the National Bank of Egypt, where he gained experience in the international department as well as the banking controls department. In 1970, he joined NBAD in the UAE at a time when there were very few branches and just 30 people on staff. Since 1980, he has led a phenomenal expansion of NBAD Egypt, increasing sharply the number of branches and continuing to attract the best, brightest, and most motivated staff.


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

EFG-Hermes Continues as Leading Regional Investment Bank

El Mallawany leads EFG Hermes with a laser-like focus on goals to keep the company growing as the Arab world's premier investment banking firm

After a transformational year in 2006, EFG Hermes moves forward with tremendous momentum and big plans to continue phenomenal growth

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asser El Mallawany, Chairman and CEO of EFG Hermes, is very proud of the people who work for his firm, and for very good reason. According to him, they are the main factor behind the tremendous growth generated by the firm during 2006. “Our human capital is what sets us apart from everyone else,” says El Mallawany. “We are very focused on our strategy of nurturing our people while pursuing growth in financial services.” The strategy appears to be working quite well. Final numbers from 2006 revealed a 48.5 percent increase in total revenues compared to 2005. “Volatility in each of the markets we operate in across the region presented a challenge, but the company ended the year on a positive note,” says El Mallawany. “We saw tremendous growth in business, the implementation of regional expansion, strong diversification of our product range, and strengthening of our infrastructure to support several markets. EFG Hermes looks to continuing expansion EFG Hermes is in the midst of a concerted regional expansion drive across the breadth of its business as part of its comprehensive strategy. “We have already established a significant presence in the UAE,” says El Mallawany, “and we have existing transaction mandates in investment banking and asset management in Saudi Arabia. We have already started our brokerage activities there.

The firm is widely recognized as the premier investment bank in the Arab world, and the market leader in securities brokerage, asset management, investment banking, and private equity and research. “Our vision has always been to lead the financial services industry in the Middle East and North Africa,” maintains El Mallawany. “We have made much

“Volatility in each of the markets we operate in across the region presented a challenge, but the company ended the year on a positive note” progress towards fulfilling this ambition in all our areas of business, and today participate in the most important regional transactions on behalf of Middle Eastern private

and institutional investors, as well as foreign investors coming to the region.” He goes on to say, “supporting our drive for regional expansion is a strong and diversified business portfolio and a vibrant corporate culture.” The foundation of this vibrant corporate culture is, again, the people who work for EFG Hermes. “We employ the best people and invest considerable resources in training them to deliver satisfaction to our clients,” says El Mallawany. “It is this philosophy that has produced such great success and that will keep us well out in front of our competition.” An eye towards the future Yasser El Mallawany has played a major role in the consolidation of the investment banking sector in Egypt, and he has a solid record of accomplishment in the Egyptian financial services industry. Because of his experience and acknowledged leadership, El Mallawany's thoughts on the economic future of the region are much sought after, and others in the financial industry pay close attention to him. So what does El Mallawany see in Egypt's future? “We are in a very large growth cycle,” he says, “and I expect that to continue at 7 to 9 percent for the next five years.” Egypt's growth will be fueled even further, says El Mallawany, by the 49


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

increased appeal of Egyptian real estate, the increased financial liquidity in the Gulf region, and recent reforms in the financial sector. “What will make or break Egypt's growth is the strengthening of the infrastructure needed to support it. Egypt provides a lot of diversity in terms of climate, in terms of locations,” notes El Mallawany. “The growth of real estate and trying to create Egypt as a hub of tourism is great, but the issue will be infrastructure.” Even with this in mind, though, El Mallawany says, “We are in a strong growth cycle for the country. I am excited about the tremendous potential of the real estate market in Egypt in comparison to the Gulf, particularly in Dubai.” His concern over Dubai's real estate market is supported by a 45-page analysis recently published by EFG Hermes. According to the firm's analysis, Dubai has a demand for 40,000-50,000 residential units per year but there are 69,000 units that will be supplied in 2007. An even bigger issue looms in 2008, when 139,000 units are due to be handed over. “Even though the delivery dates of those 2008 units are likely to slip,” says El Mallawany, there is still reason for concern.”

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His apprehension is rooted in a fear prevalent in the local market, that while the outlook for 2007 is sound enough, it looks as though supply and demand will be getting seriously out of balance by 2008. “Based on our analysis, EFG Hermes pre-

“The key to expansion for EFG Hermes has been making its business model scalable” dicts that rents and prices will begin falling in 2008,” maintains El Mallawany, “although the exact extent of price falls will depend on how much of this additional supply actually hits the market.” Looking ever further ahead, the firm believes the oversupply of units that will begin in 2008 will extend as far out as 2010, when the number of new residential units

will double to about 530,000. “Of course all of this is predicted on no significant slowdown in the economy, which would weaken the flow of expatriates into Dubai,” notes El Mallawany. “At the moment it looks like Dubai is building far too much real estate, but that could change if instability in some countries and higher oil prices attract more people and money to the area.” A regional bank with personalized service EFG Hermes offers its clients a complete spectrum of financial services to meet whatever needs they may have, but with the personal touch seldom found in the world of investment banking and financial services. “In every part of our business, we prioritize the demands of our clients as the key to ongoing profitability,” notes El Mallawany. “We apply our deep resources of insight and experience, tailoring innovative solutions to meet our clients' specific financial needs.” It is this intense focus on the needs of clients that creates such a powerful value proposition at EFG Hermes. “We have the


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

innovation and intellectual capital to find investment opportunities where others might not look, and the corporate strength to capitalize on these,” says El Mallawany proudly. “This allows us to harness the synergies between our business lines to translate potential value into realized profit.” He goes on to say, “What we have managed to build is an integrated engine of investment banking that provides services equivalent to the big boys, however with the flexibility and reach to be a local investment bank wherever we go.” El Mallawany firmly believes this unique structure and approach will carry EFG Hermes into continued growth and success. “We are coming off of a great year,” he says, “and we are looking to leverage this momentum into further expansion throughout the region.” More about the success of EFG Hermes Increasingly, other financial institutions are measuring themselves against EFG Hermes, a fact that is not lost on Yasser El Mallawany. “We are the largest investment bank in the region, with a strong brand and footprint across the Arab world,” he says. “All of that is because of a vision, the ability to attract human talent with the right exposure and financial competence and bringing them back as partners, not employees. We share a vision and focus on implementing it.” According to El Mallawany, the key to expansion for EFG Hermes has been making its business model scalable. “The product lines start in the region, and then we blend the human talent from within the company and from the region itself,” he says. “To achieve growth we apply a very focused strategy in terms of expanding our organic business, which is investment banking, nurturing a culture of client focus, and at the same

“There is a paradigm shift in our country with regards to financial investment” time expanding into complemetary financial services as a way to reduce the volatility of the investment banking activities.” If the success of EFG Hermes has been tremendous, then the outlook for the future is even stronger. “We have positioned ourselves to be one of the main bridges for intra-regional trade and investment,” notes El Mallawany. “There is a paradigm shift in our country with regards to financial investment, and this has created a strong momentum that we will seize fully through an aggressive investment program.” Those on the inside of EFG Hermes as well as those on the outside, frequently make note of the leadership and guidance provided by Yasser El Mallawany when asked about the firm's success. “The key to success is teamwork,” maintains El Mallawany. “I learned a tremendous amount from my early days in banking at Chase Manhattan, but the leadership skills of our people have sharpened the most due to living through many different financial cycles.” Leadership, vision, and focused strategy are at the heart of EFG Hermes and the hallmarks of Yasser El Mallawany's tenure as CEO of the firm. 51


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Creating a Home Away from Home The Ministry of Tourism aims to capitalise on Egypt's popularity with Gulf travellers, focusing on its close relations with the region and its growing range of attractions

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s Egypt's Minister for Tourism, H.E. Zoheir Garranah is playing a key role in driving the country's economy. Tourism in Egypt accounts for at least 11 percent of all jobs in Egypt, and contributes to some 70 other sectors. In conditions that most people in the travel industry acknowledge to be difficult, Egypt's tourism sector is achieving creditable growth in income of around 5 percent per annum. Building on Egypt's Ties with the Gulf “Our ties with the Gulf are stronger than ever,” Mr. Garranah explained. “The Gulf is a strategic partner of Egypt in the tourism industry. In the past three years, there has been a very significant increase of investment from the Gulf in tourism development projects, and we feel that there is great potential for this market. Last year we had a 13 percent increase in tourism coming from the Gulf.” The Gulf States are seen as a source of particularly stable growth in business for Egypt.

Mr. Garranah has extensive knowledge of the tourism industry in Egypt, having spent 25 years working in the Garranah group of companies, where he rose to become Chairman and helped steer the Group's extraordinary growth from a small company staffed by seven people to a global conglomerate employing some 2400. He has been chosen to apply his experience in achieving the government's target of 14 million tourist visitors per year by the year 2011.

H.E. Zoheir Garranah is leading the drive to attract 14 million tourists to Egypt annually by 2011

New Investments in Infrastructure The dedication to reaching this target is demonstrated by the level of targeted investment that is taking place at key destinations. Cairo airport will have doubled its capacity by the end of this year, and the recent opening of the new airport at Sharm Al Sheikh, together with the expansion of Hurghada and Marsa Alam BOT

airports will in themselves transform a number of resorts, making them much more accessible for frequent visitors, and making Egypt a more feasible choice for buyers of holiday homes. Government initiatives are in place to lift restrictions on air traffic to these destinations, and enable a greater number of direct flights from the Gulf States. Air links to the Mediterranean coast are also being improved, and there are efforts to forge ahead with an ambitious overhaul of the country's rail network, whilst relaxation of rules on coastal

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

3-4 million, it will not suffice that we have a similar culture, speak the same language and have all the historical and natural marvels that everyone knows about: we also need to offer them equal or better opportunities for shopping than in their home countries.” Training and Marketing

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development are allowing for the construction of new marinas. One recent report named Egypt as the Undiscovered Golf Destination of the World. Improved infrastructure and communications are essential elements to the realization of planned, fully integrated megadevelopments, such as in El Gouna. These massive projects enable large scale developers from countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE to undertake self-contained developments that include international class hotels, restaurants, shopping and leisure facilities. Further projects are already in the pipeline for other destinations. The Tourism Ministry sees these investments as essential in their efforts to build on the already rapid growth in numbers of tourist visitors from the Gulf, currently increasing at around 13 percent each year. Attractive Resorts, Competitive Prices Mr. Garranah believes that Egypt has some major advantages as a destination for Gulf tourists: The pleasant ambience of the Mediterranean coast complements the prospect of sunshine all year round in the popular resorts of the Red Sea and Sinai. Real Estate prices in Egypt are still very reasonable compared to many Gulf resorts, and recent liberalization of tradi-

tional restrictions has made it much easier for foreigners to buy property. “Every foreigner is treated today as an Egyptian, in terms of freehold, right to use, selling and buying, registering, all the essential rights for investors to be able to realize the full potential of their investments are today fully assured in Egypt,” Mr. Garranah explains.

Mr. Ahmed Khadem, Chairman of the Egypt Tourism Authority (ETA), explained how the industry is addressing the key issues of marketing and training that will underpin the ambitious growth targets for the industry. “The trainers themselves move to the important tourism spots of the country like Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and so on. They undertake the training initiatives on site, using the existing facilities. This is a very efficient way of addressing the urgent need for training there is in our country until we develop a series of training centers in the main tourist centers.” Mr. Khadem is also overseeing an approach to marketing Egypt as a popular tourism destination for tourists from the Gulf States that will utilize Egypt's very strong reputation throughout the Arabic speaking world for cultural excellence. The Tourism Authority is organizing a program of promotional

Retail At present, Mr. Garranah admits that Elezabi wants to Egypt is still weak in strengthen Egypt's marketing efforts in the area of large shopthe Gulf ping developments, and believes that this is a particular issue for visitors from the Gulf, events covering a number of the Gulf who like to visit the country as families. States that will encompass cultural and The development of the retail sector in artistic activities as well as a ministerial Egypt suffered for many years from protec- visit and specific promotions by leading tionist polices that have now largely been companies. For tourists and investors around the removed, and there has already been a rapid improvement in many parts of the Gulf, the message from Egypt is that the country, but there is a real need for govern- market is very much open for business. As ment initiative to encourage more growth Mr. Garranah confirms; “We always like to in retail. “Last year we had 1.9 million say to investors and tourists from the Gulf tourists from the Gulf visiting Egypt, and if that they are always welcome to Egypt as we want to achieve increase that figure to a second home.” 53


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Delivering 21 st Century Hospitality with Historical Flair

Cherif boosts the Shepheard’s competitiveness for the 21st century while mantaining its traditional atmosphere

The Shepheard Hotel is well positioned to maintain its luster well into the future

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he Shepheard Hotel is a classic example of Cairo's world-renowned hospitality. Founded in 1841 by Samuel Shepheard, the hotel quickly became a favorite among polymaths, Egyptologists, and tourists due to its excellent management and convenient location in Cairo's European quarter. By 1857, the London News observed that “Perhaps in no hotel in the world do you find such an assembly of people of the rank and fashion from all countries as are found daily sitting down to the table d'hôte in the grand salon.” Business grew so fast during the first few years of operation that Mr. Shepheard had to take over an old palace adjacent to the building that once served as Napoleon's private quarters, which just added to the popularity and prestige of the property. The hotel later relocated into Garden City on the banks of the river Nile and, with a capacity of 300 rooms and suites, it is today one of the few hotels to boast a true historical heritage among the many that dot this prestigious district. The hotel's reputation convinced Adel O. Cherif to come out of retirement–after 33 years at Starwoods Hotels–to become an Assistant Vice President of E.G.O.T.H., the owner company, and the General Manager of the hotel. “When the owners approached me, I couldn't resist the temptation of the challenge: boosting the Shepheard's competitiveness for the 21st century, while maintaining its traditional atmosphere.”

The hotel's prime location, at walking distance form the Egyptian Museum, the Cairo Opera House, Khan El Khalili Bazar and the Citadel is a great asset, but Cherif asserts that the Shepheard's true uniqueness lies in the flair and details inherited from days past: “We are the only hotel in

“We are the only hotel in town that offers 43-square meter duplex suites…” town that offers 43-square meter duplex suites; nowadays, it would be financially unfeasible to build a hotel with such huge rooms!.” The duplex suites are popular among visitors from the Gulf, who are particularly fond of traveling with their families and appreciate the extra comfort that such spacious rooms offer. It's easy to see why the owners of the hotel picked Cherif as the right man to give the Shepheard a new competitive edge: his extensive experience in the business give him an uncommon ability to combine robust old school principles with modern

management techniques into a leadership style that seems tailor-made for a hotel that seeks a balance between modernity and tradition. “I am an advocate of technology, but to learn the difference between medium-rare and well-done–there's no computerbased training that can match spending time in the kitchen!.” A good share of Cherif's time goes into talking to guests, asking them all kinds of questions about their experience in the hotel. This frist-hand information is the main input into his decision making process, and his most important tool to fine tune the hotel's operations, fitting them into a streamlined, customer-focused process. Cherif's leadership has paid off; during 2006 the average occupancy rate reached 76 percent. And while its average room rate increased US$ 11, “Shepheard still is the hotel that offers the best value for money in town.” Cherif is a seasoned cuisine enthusiast himself, and spent his good share of time in the kitchen during the early stages of his career. The gastronomic offer of the Shepheard is varied and is also of crucial importance in his strategy. His personal favorite is the “Asia House,” offering authentic Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Japanese dishes. Whatever your choice, Cherif guarantees that “in the Shepheard Hotel, you will feel the true charm of Cairo's history, with 21st century quality of service.”

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Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Rolling Out the Red Carpet Semiramis InterContinental

Nile Hilton

InterContinental Cairo Citystars

Michel Tourniaire, Director of Operations-Egypt & General Manager

Jean Pierre H. Mainardi, General Manager

Thierry Perrot, General Manager

Best Restaurants in Cairo

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ince it opened in 1987, the Semiramis InterContinental has been one of Cairo's premier hotels. The hotel lobby and two of its restaurants are still being renovated, but renovations on three others on the second floor have been completed and they are now open to the public. Sabaya offers authentic Lebanese cuisine with contemporary décor and music, while The Bird Cage, with its exceptional Thai cuisine and intimate atmosphere, is exceptional. Live water features and the tantalizing aromas of Thailand will elevate you to a different world. The only restaurant overlooking the Nile is the Italian restaurant Pane Vino, which serves authentic Italian food and has the best pizza in town. If you want to dine at these restaurants, you will have to book a table, as they are very much in demand. One of the things that clearly stands out in this hotel is the fully-equipped 24-hour Business Centre. “We have the fastest Internet connection in town,” says Mr. Tourniaire. “Semiramis is a 70 percent business, 30 percent leisure hotel. We are proud of our concierge, as he knows the city better than anyone else. We can get you to places nobody else even knows about because we have been here a long time and have done our homework, so we can find those special spots for you. Training is very important to us and we educate our employees continuously to offer the best service possible.” 56

Most luxurious hotel in Cairo

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ocated in the heart of Cairo, Nile Hilton has gained a strong reputation due to its unique location. Hilton was the first international hotel chain to be established in Egypt. Forty minutes from the airport and close to the pyramids, the hotel offers a gym, pool and tennis court. “Our Nile-view rooms allow for a sight of a 7-mile stretch of the Nile. You don't have this kind of view from any other hotel in Cairo. You can even see the Pyramids on a sunny day from our balconies,” says Mr. JeanPierre H. Mainardi, General Manager of Nile Hilton. The hotel is adjacent to the world-famous Egyptian Museum. It is within walking distance of the main business and shopping district. Besides its unbeatable view, the management is proud of its people, who are delivering excellent service. Nile Hilton has established an apprentice program to train local people and to empower its employees to deliver world-class cuisine and service to their guests. “We have an average of 920 employees. Half of them have been working with us for more than 25 years,” says Mr. Mainardi. The hotel specially caters to Gulf tourists by providing ethnic food that is geared towards their taste. “We have experienced a 17 percent growth in the number of guests coming from the Gulf during 2006, and I'm confident we will sustain these numbers during 2007”

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itystars Heliopolis Cairo is the first and largest integrated project of its kind in the Middle East. Citystars includes three hotels and 70,000 sqm of office space, 266 residential apartments, duplexes, and penthouses, as well as Star Care medical support and the largest shopping and entertainment centre in the Middle East. The International Exhibition Centre boasts 20,000 sqm. InterContinental Cairo Citystars offers an extensive range of dining options in its restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. “This is not just a hotel, it is a concept,” says Mr. Thierry Perrot, who has been working for InterContinental Group for over 25 years. “The owner wanted to create a landmark. We have the largest ballroom in the Middle East at the moment. We also have the largest fitness club.” Major conventions are common in the hotel as no other hotel in town can accommodate that many people at one time. The hotel offers 18 versatile conference and banqueting rooms, with floor space ranging from 50 to 2,200 sqm. This is definitely the best family hotel in Cairo and offers the widest variety of entertainment, including luxurious spa treatments, 16 movie theaters, and 550 retail outlets to shop till you drop. In this setting, your family can unwind, engage in individual activities and then join each other to celebrate dinner.


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Cairo’s Top Hotel Managers Share their Views Four Seasons Cairo at the First Residence

Randy Shimabuku, General Manager

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our Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence was the first property under the Four Seasons name in the Middle East. “The owners built a fantastic property with great attention to detail,” says Mr. Shimabuku, General Manager, who has worked with Four Seasons for 19 years. “This hotel was truly a pioneering effort for us. I have been to 51 of our 74 properties, and I must say this hotel is particularly special. It is an oasis. When you go out in the hustle and bustle of Cairo and come back to something like this, you truly feel as if you are in heaven.” We absolutely agree with this. The hotel has a cozy, boutique atmosphere about it, which makes it special. As soon as you enter the hotel you are greeted with a smile, and the exceptional service continues throughout your stay. Four Seasons staff are trained to meet your every need. The marvelous spa and wellness center will help you unwind after a long day of sightseeing and shopping. The hotel offers a variety of restaurants that cater to different tastes. Mr. Shimabuku is excited about managing this spectacular Egyptian hotel and contributing to the growth of the economy. As he says, “We helped the industry by establishing a benchmark. Egypt's potential is limitless, not only in the luxury market but across the board. Our hotel is going into its eighth year of operation, and last year was our best.”

Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza

Le Meridien Pyramids

Barry Curran, General Manager & Area Manager Resorts - Egypt

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he eye-catching Le Méridien Pyramids Resort boasts unmatched views of the mystic, ancient majesty of the Giza Pyramids. A mere glance out your window reveals the secrets of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Le Méridien Pyramids Resort Hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of Egypt's historic treasures, including the Giza Pyramids, the Sphinx, and other monumental sights. Conveniently, it's only a 15-minute drive from Cairo's central-city attractions. According to General Manager Mr. Curran, “Le Méridien Pyramids is the busiest, largest hotel in the area, with the market share to go along with it. The owners have decided to invest US$ 40 million on top of an already very successful hotel, which will be underpinned by the new Grand Egyptian Museum coming in. This will bring in more business and ensure we are the dominant player in the area. The investment covers an additional 165 rooms and a total upgrade to five-star deluxe status, featuring a new spa, leisure areas, restaurants, pools, and banquet halls, which effectively create a brand-new hotel.” With a first-class choice of restaurants and cuisines, wireless connectivity and magnificent swimming pool and spa amenities, Le Méridien Pyramids is the ideal place to explore the ancient mysteries of Egypt. Le Méridien Pyramids has an exquisitely designed swimming pool, and two floodlit tennis courts.

Olivier Masson, General Manager

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he success of Four Seasons in Egypt is symbolized by the presence of its second hotel in Cairo. Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza has only been open for two years, but has been extremely well received by the community. Its modern interior design with spacious rooms, seven restaurants and a central location, have made it just as popular as its predecessor. It's been a real success story. “Hisham Talaat Mostafa is a great owner and managing partner. He has great vision, tremendous willpower and eagerness to succeed,” says Masson. “The standards of Four Seasons cannot be matched by any other five-star hotel in Cairo. We are leading the market in the luxury sector. Egypt has been a budget destination for tourists for a while, but it is changing, as we have a lot to offer and there is no reason to be a budget destination any more. The average daily rate for a five-star hotel in Cairo has increased by up to US$ 20 just because of our entrance into the market. Now almost all hotels are doing major renovations because of us, as we are setting a new benchmark here,” says Masson. He points out that approximately 50 percent of the hotel's business comes from the Gulf and mainly from Saudi Arabia. “The Saudis are people of good taste; they are people of wealth. They are the people who frequent this hotel, the key to our success is being able to cater to them. We are continuing to grow in the region with more hotels opening soon.” Masson concludes. 57


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Off to a Strong Start Direct Travel embraces the challenge of entering the Egyptian car rental business-and delivering a service badly needed for the Egyptian tourism industry's future

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hen top executives of multinational companies start leaving their highly-paid, secure jobs to launch their own businesses, you can be sure that the economy of a country is on the right track–entrepreneurial initiative is the essential element that a market economy needs for sustaining its growth in the long term. In early 2005, Hany El-Meshad, Chairman of Direct Travel, decided to quit his job as Marketing Manager of a top multinational company, letting go all the security and perks to jump into the wild world of entrepreneurship, launching his own car rental and travel services company: “Entrepreneurial life is particularly challenging In Cairo,” he says. The city is awake until 4:00 am, meaning his working hours are practically around the clock, and there are well-established, multinational competitors in the market to deal with. But he doesn't regret his decision for a second: “Even taking these factors into account, there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in Egypt. And we are proud to say that we have so far done a very good job in differentiating ourselves and gaining a substantial amount of loyal customers.” El-Meshad acknowledges that his 7-year long career in the multinational corporate world allowed him to hone his business skills, an asset that he fully utilizes now in his own company: “Those seven years gave me in-depth knowledge on the multinational way of dealing with customers, employees, and competitors. It was an excellent business school,” he asserts. The company started with a fleet of 15 vehicles, and today it has expanded to a total of 65. The fleet is expected to grow to 100 vehicles by the end of 2007, and by the beginning of next year, launching a limousine rental division and opening an office at the new Terminal II at Cairo airport. Offices in Sharm El Sheikh and 58

El-Meshad has no regrets for his departure from the corporate cocoon towards the entrepreneurial wilderness

“There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in Egypt” Hurghada are also planned for the medium term. The company has secured a solid number of corporate contracts with large multinational companies, and ElMeshad plans to further capitalize in his marketing savvy to offer them the possibility of advertising on some of his cars, once the government approves this form of advertising. “The concept has great potential in Egypt, as it allows to reduce rental fees to a nominal value, and there is a large segment of the market that we believe is very price-sensitive,” says El-Meshad. Seeing the concept in Frankfurt, Barcelona and other European cities where it is very popular, inspired him to replicate it in Egypt: “We stand an excellent chance of doing a good job because of our solid know-how in the advertising field. In fact, my marketing experience was in itself the main motivation for my interest in the car rental business–advertising can transform the car rental business in Egypt.” Another key element that motivated El-Meshad to launch the company is the urgent need of high-quality transportation services that a city like Cairo needs. The highly deteriorated state of the taxi fleet in the city is one of the major deterrents for tourists, which has prompted the Ministry of Tourism to launch its own taxi service–called “Cairo Taxi”–with brand new, bright yellow cabs that deliver a clearly superior service than Cairo's typical taxis. While there is talk of a plan by the Ministry to subsidize the entire substi-

tution of the city's taxi fleet in the near future, it is the initiative of companies

“My marketing experience was my main motivation to enter the car rental business–advertising can transform the car rental business in Egypt” like Direct Travel that can contribute the most to address this crucial challenge for the country's tourism industry.


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

When Business and Pleasure Intertwine The Sheraton Cairo Hotel, Towers and Casino, blends luxurious comfort and top business facilities

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he Sheraton Cairo Hotel, Towers & Casino is ideally located in the heart of Cairo, with suites that overlook the City, the magical River Nile & the Pyramids. Patrons can find magnificent views from the hotel's 650 deluxe rooms, including 113 suites. With its matchless dining and recreational facilities, along with its professional business and travel services, the hotel satisfies the needs of the most discerning guests. Your dining options are endless, consisting of Oriental, Italian, Lebanese, Japanese, and Moroccan cuisines complemented by three bars, all of which are designed to meet every taste and occasion. Furthermore, the exclusive and luxurious atmosphere of the Tower's Lounge pampers guests with snacks and refreshments all day in an elegant

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setting. Recreational facilities include the Xanadu Health Club, serving as one of the best places in Cairo to work out with world-class spa facilities, and the impressive “Le Mirage" outdoor swimming pool completing the rejuvenation experience. After a fun-filled day, guests can cap it all off by trying their luck at Blackjack or the slots in the dazzling casino, or decide to take a short walk to the Cairo Opera House, Egyptian Museum, or Cairo shopping centres. Mr. Ibrahim Fahmy, General Manager, comments about the importance of the Gulf market for the hotel: “Customers of Sheraton Cairo Hotel, Towers & Casino are a mixture of discerning families looking for a pleasant atmosphere and delicious cuisine, and businessmen looking for world-class facilities. Needless to say, both types are

Ibrahim Fahmy, General Manager, Sheraton Cairo Hotel, Towers & Casino

characteristic of the Gulf region, and they know we are particularly capable of delivering what they want.” Additional services include a fully equipped Business Centre, 24-hour limo service, banquet and conference facilities, shopping arcades, and a beauty salon. Whether you are in Cairo for business or pleasure, the Sheraton Cairo Hotel, Towers & Casino is an optimal choice.


Taking Cairo's Charm to a New Level Talisman Hotel de Charme brings true boutique hospitality to Cairo and Egypt

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any believe that Cairo's charm is due to the richness of its contrasts. The chaotic and the peacefully mystical, the ancient and the modern, the beautiful and the appalling–all coexist in rare harmony, producing a unique form of sensual delight. Yet even the most seasoned Cairo connoisseurs will marvel at the calmness and sumptuousness of the Talisman hotel, hidden in the midst of bustling downtown Cairo. According to Mohamed Elayouty, Talisman's owner and General Manager, “The hotel's location is a unique advantage, not only for being a 10-minute walk from the Egyptian Museum and the souks of Khan el Khalili, but also for allowing our visitors to combine the experience of real-life, vibrant downtown Cairo, with Talisman's fantasylike, soothing atmosphere.” It's easy to see why Talisman has the reputation of being the only true boutique hotel in Cairo. Its 24 rooms and suites, are all fabulously decorated and extraordinarily comfortable, each

The dining room is exquisitely decorated with Egyptian arts and crafts: mashrabia chairs and sofas, mother of pearl marquetry consoles and dressers, Turkish Ottoman lustres, Persian carpets, original oil paintings by local artists, and antique Islamic silver. The library is cozy and well assorted. According to Elayouty, he was immediately seduced by the property when he first saw it; what sold him on the investment was the business opportunity of launching the boutique hotel concept in Egypt. He had always felt there was an unsatisfied niche of customers for this concept. Staying true to his business background–he holds an MBA from the University of San Diego, having spent

with a unique color scheme and theme. The opulent oriental atmosphere of the rooms is complemented by all the occidental modern conveniences.

most of his career in financial institutions–Elayouty spent six months studying the hotel's financials, its operations, and the possibilities for creating a boutique hotel chain that would

Mohamed Elayouty aims to take the boutique hotel concept from Cairo to the rest of Egypt

take the Talisman concept from Cairo to the rest of Egypt. “We plan to open a new hotel under the same name and concept in Alexandria next year. After that it will be Aswan, Luxor, and the Red Sea,” says Elayouty. He has focused most of his efforts during the last eight months on optimizing the hotel's management system to give it the professional edge it needs for supporting the birth of the Talisman network. Elayouty's intuition has so far proven right on target. “Our winter season has been extremely good, reaching almost 100 percent occupancy rates,” he says, pointing out that this is in great part due to an extremely loyal European clientele. There is more work to be done to attract a larger number of guests during the summer months, and here is where Elayouty sees great potential in the Gulf market, for which Egypt is a prime summer destination. “I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, so winning over the Gulf customers is a very personal matter for me,” says Elayouty. With its unique blend of authenticity, exuberance, comfort, and quality of service, the Talisman seems well positioned for taking Cairo's unique charm to the rest of Egypt–and to a whole new level of sophistication.

Talisman Hotel de Charme 39 Talaat Harb Street, Cairo - Tel & Fax +20 2 393 94 31 Talisman_hoteldecharme@yahoo.fr - www.talisman-hotel.com 61


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Sharm El Sheikh: The City of Peace The top hoteliers of Sharm El Sheikh discuss their role in creating the ultimate sea-resort experience Imagine yourself in one of the most beautiful and famous deep-sea diving paradises in the world. Your dreams of crystal-clear water, magnificent corals, exotic underwater flora and rare tropical fish all come true when you visit Sharm El Sheikh, which has been heralded as "The City of Peace." With history going back thousands of years, Sharm El Sheikh has emerged as one of Egypt's top holiday destinations. After the Sinai was restored to Egypt in 1982, the Egyptian government embarked on an initiative to encourage continued development of the city. The simplicity of sun, sea and sand, coupled with the luxury of five-star hotels, water sports, shopping and entertainment, makes Sharm El Sheikh one of the most accessible and developed tourist resort communities on the Sinai

Mootaz Soliman • D. General Manager Savoy Sharm El Sheikh

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avoy Sharm El Sheikh is the first hotel in Egypt to be operated by Savoy Hotels and Resorts International SAE. A designated 5-star hotel, the Savoy Sharm El Sheikh boasts an impressive resort with leading standards and services. According to D. General Manager Mootaz Soliman, "The Savoy brand rings a bell with the Gulf market in particular, and by leveraging this experience into our offering, Savoy Sharm El Sheikh Hotel was unsurprisingly voted by industry insiders as this year's 'Egypt's Leading Resort', placing it amongst the leading resorts of the world." 62

peninsula. The highly accessible Sharm El Sheikh Airport receives planeloads of charter tourists throughout the year, and upon arrival, visitors can expect to find all the amenities one could expect of a tourist center, including casinos, discos and nightclubs, golf courses and health facilities. It has been said that Sharm El Sheikh is a must visit for all diving enthusiasts, as there are many diving sites along the 10-mile beach between Sharm El Sheikh and Ras Nusrani to choose from. In fact, with snorkeling, windsurfing and other water sports, horses and camel riding, desert safaris, and great nearby antiquities attractions, it is almost impossible for a visitor to ever suffer from monotony.

The Savoy Sharm El Sheikh offers its guests more accommodation options than ever before. In addition to the beautiful hotel and surroundings, it also presents the Royal Savoy and the Savoy Villas. The Royal Savoy is an exclusive category of accommodation: a self-contained 'Club' wing, with impeccable style and services that redefine the meaning of luxury. The Royal has its own private lounge, pool and beach area. The Savoy Villas combine all the advantages of a unique private home with the services and attentions of a 5-star hotel. Acting General Manager Dieter Geiger credits the dedication to training among Savoy's staff for its exceptional warmth by noting, "The challenge is not so much geared toward facilities, because we are blessed with brilliant hardware, but even the best computer will not function without Microsoft, so the software is the key to bringing it all together. We welcome visitors from the Gulf to come stay with us, as we provide world-class facilities and service alike." Offering outstanding views, impeccable service and the added advantages of a 5-star hotel, the Royal Savoy Villas

Dieter Geiger • Acting General Manger Savoy Sharm El Sheikh

cater for each and every individual taste. The villas offer a private world of luxury and decadence, each with its own heated swimming pool and additional butler service on request. Relax in the comfort of a 'home away from home' and tailor your stay to meet your needs. A heavenly destination offering an exclusive experience: the Royal Savoy Villas won Middle East's Leading Villas 2006 award. Finally, as part of the Savoy family, The Sierra Sharm El Sheikh is an all-inclusive resort located within the worldfamous national park of Ras Mohammed, offering spectacular views of the South Sinai mountain range and access to the private sands of the White Knight Beach.


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Ahmed Salama • General Manger Conrad Sharm El Sheikh Resort

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he Conrad Sharm El Sheikh Resort is situated on 37 acres of landscaped gardens, fronting a stretch of over 650 meters of immaculate beaches, at the unique sea coast area of Ras Nosrani Bay. With 470 sea-view rooms and suites, the hotel is known for its quietness

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he Crowne Plaza Resort Sharm El Sheikh enjoys a breathtaking panoramic view over El Pasha Bay, one of Egypt's most beautiful stretches of coast. With its characteristic Moorish design, the entire resort is designed to have guests revive the authentic essence of the native culture. Walking through the main entrance is your first step into the heart of the ancient Arabian world, and a unique Wadi, inspired by the precious desert oasis, runs throughout the resort before ending into a cascade at the beach. As General Manager Mohammed Wafaa notes, "I could go on and on about the level of service that we provide, but with the Crowne Plaza name, it is a given fact that everything is top of the line, from

Firas Irsheidat • General Manager Sheraton Sharm Hotel, Resort and Villas

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he bright blue sea, warm sun, and 860 meters of clean white sandy beaches come together to create the paradise that is Sheraton Sharm Hotel, Resort and Villas. Located at Al Pasha Coast, the resort is nestled on the east shore of the southern tip of

and efficient, friendly service, as well as its creative international cuisine, which come together in a warm, relaxed and refined atmosphere. General Manager Ahmed Salama notes that contemporary style and classic luxury merge to complement the Conrad Hotels experience. "'Contemporary' means more than mere physical surroundings to the Conrad guest: it is a state of mind and a philosophy. At Conrad Hotels, guests are empowered to unleash and to celebrate their individuality in every sense. Above all, every Conrad hotel is dedicated to allowing every single guest to experience the greatest luxury of all: The Luxury of Being Yourself." It is this attention to detail and personal touch that sets the hotel apart, and with

facilities, service, attention to detail, and personal touch. Whether our guests come from the Arab world or Europe, we strive to make them feel at ease by creating an atmosphere where all needs are catered toward." The hotel offers 400 guest rooms and suites, with each having a sea-, garden-, or pool-view with private balcony or terrace. The dining selection includes La Veranda Seville's Tapas Bar, C-V BBQ, Via Veneto Restaurant, as well as El Kahwa. Among several attractions, visitors can enjoy the themed "Bedouin Nights": Desert barbecue and live entertainment under the stars, a range of massages including Thai Massage, and a diving center complete with lecture room. Having played host to several high-

the Sinai Peninsula on one of the world's most beautiful coral reefs. Not only does the hotel boast the largest beachfront property in Sharm El Sheikh, but the 1,600 sqm Sheraton Sharm Spa offers the region's largest and most comprehensive facility for Thalasso therapy. Guests can treat themselves to a day of wellness and beauty at Sheraton Sharm Spa by unwinding in the jacuzzi, relaxing with a professional massage, or enjoying an aqua-medic treatment. According to General Manager Firas Irsheidat, "Being among the first fivestar chains in Egypt and the Gulf, we are very well versed in the service we provide for our guests, and our aim is not just to meet their expectations, but to

a unique incentive program for returning guests that includes periodic celebrations thrown by the staff, as well as personal tree dedications, it is no wonder that the hotel maintains such a devout following. "We have noticed that the majority of our Gulf clientele do not want to be bothered with too much technicality, and would rather feel comfortable and at peace. For instance, the chef does not approach the patron and ask, "What would you like to order?" but rather, "What would you like me to cook for you today?" There are no limits, and if the product is not locally available, we will fly it in. It is just about breaking the paradigm and thinking outside the box to really allow guests the luxury of being themselves."

Mohammed Wafaa • General Manager Crowne Plaza Sharm El Sheikh

profile events over the years, The Crowne Plaza Resort Sharm El Sheikh's 500 square meters of meeting space makes it ideal for banquets, conferences or any other event clients may have in mind for leisure or private business meetings.

exceed them by anticipating their needs. From industry studies, we have seen that bedroom comfort, cleanliness of bathroom facilities, and service delivery are the three most important indicators for hotel patrons. However, from my experience in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, it is quite clear that today's Gulf traveler is an experienced traveler, meaning that the standard has to meet the highest international protocol in order to stay competitive. However, as I mentioned, our philosophy goes beyond meeting this norm, and in order to continue delivering quality we have developed various training programs geared towards enhancing guest delivery service, an initiative that we have been applying at all of our properties." 63


Who’s Who - Egypt 2007

Werner Gessner • General Manager Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino Sharm El Sheikh

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private oasis between sand and sea, Sonesta Beach Resort & Casino Sharm El Sheikh stretches across the sands of Naama Bay, drawing you to the magnificent Red Sea. With 520 unique guest rooms, executive rooms and suites featuring a private balcony or patio, the architectural design, laced with traditional Arabic domes and arch-

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njoy a seaside resort experience with superb dining, spa, fitness, diving and sports, as well as luxurious guest rooms clustered along the shimmering drama of the Red Sea. The hotel has combined exclusive with reclusive, with the entrance stretching like a red carpet lined with palm trees arranged with pinpoint precision. Seen from the open water, the Four Seasons Sharm stands out as a literal oasis on South Sinai's desert coastline, boasting a lush frontal coast of landscaping that provides pristine ambiance. The standard room at the hotel aspires to be a villa, as suites feature a private balcony or terrace with stunning views of the sea. According to General Manager Luca

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ways, denotes the concept and characteristics of a traditional Arabic village. “Being situated within walking distance of the famed Naama Bay is a key attraction for our guests. We always call Sonesta 'the home away from home', because it is not just the property and the amenities that we deliver upon, but also the staff and our commitment to hospitality. The Sonesta philosophy is to train our team on all aspects of the hotel and how to deliver what guests want, when they want it. Usually this is a grand undertaking, but I am happy to say that the Egyptian people are naturally very friendly, kind, and warm, which assures that this sense of hospitality will transcend to the reception of our patrons. I have lived in several countries over the years, and I can honestly say that I truly feel at home here."

Allegri, "The Gulf traveler has become accustomed to the highest level of service and attention to detail, and we have no doubt that the Four Seasons is the gold standard in this regard. Whether it be for business or pleasure, our guests can be assured that their wish is our command." The rooms and recreation areas are terraced into a hillside with discreet staircases creating shortcuts to the sea. A tram also runs between the pool area and the main resort building, which houses Arabesque, two lounges and Il Frantoio Italian restaurant. Closer to the waterfront, the Reef Grill offers seafood and barbecue alfresco, while the Waha Pool Bar & Restaurant features Asian

Visitors can also let loose at the Sinai Grand Casino, a Las Vegas styled state of the art casino offering Blackjack, Roulette, Stud Poker and Loose Slot machines. Club 2000 "Le Dunes," located at the Sonesta Club, offers a nightly live show and entertainment, and guests can also enjoy a great dining experience at the the vast array of restaurants, with Red Square being renowned for serving excellent Russian cuisine. For fitness and recreation, the resort offers several swimming pools, beach and pool massage, and a diving center offering scuba diving and snorkeling with all the necessary equipments and training. Guests can also partake in a variety of activities including sea and desert excursions. Whether active or relaxing, the Sonesta Beach Resort Sharm El Sheikh has appeal for every traveler.

Luca Allegri • General Manager Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh

fusion. Although patrons can find all of the business facilities one would come to traditionally expect at the Four Seasons, you will be hard pressed to find guests that can resist the relaxing atmosphere of such an amazing getaway.



Who's Who Egypt 2007