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# 319 Nassef Sawiris $7.35B

Random fact: Father, Onsi, re-created OCI in 1976 after it was nationalized.


Egypt's richest person owns 30% of OCI, a Geleen, Netherlands-based fertilizer producer which was formed out of a demerger from his family's original business, Orascom Construction. His other assets include 6% of the sportswear company Adidas and a stake in LafargeHolcim, the world's biggest cement maker.

As of :
Last change +$33.9M ( +0.5%)
YTD change +$325M ( +4.6%)
Biggest asset OCI NA Equity
Country / Region Egypt
Age 62
Industry Industrial
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Nassef Sawiris's net worth of $7.35B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Sawiris's most valuable asset is a stake in Adidas, the shoe and sports equipment manufacturer. He owns six percent of the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based company's voting rights through Cayman Islands-based Elian Corporate Trustee, according to the company's 2020 annual report.

He has a 30% stake in publicly traded fertilizer group OCI, according to company filings with the Dutch market regulator. Sawiris owns the shares directly and through the Netherlands-based holding company, Capricorn Capital BV. The billionaire's father, Onsi Sawiris, founded OCI's predecessor, Orascom Construction, in 1950, and owns 17% of the group. His older brother, Samih, owns about 7.4% of the company's shares.

The billionaire is also calculated to own about 0.3% of the LafargeHolcim shares. The company was created in a merger between Lafarge and Holcim in July 2015. He obtained his original stake in Lafarge in January 2008, after selling the cement division of Orascom Construction to the company for $12.8 billion.

His cash holdings are calculated based on an analysis of dividends, taxes, market performance and insider transactions including a $3.8 billion payment he made in 2008 to acquire shares in Lafarge.


Family: Married, 4 children

Nassef Onsi Sawiris was born Jan. 19, 1961, in Cairo, Egypt, the youngest of three sons born to Yousiriyya and Onsi Sawiris. His father, the son of a lawyer, had founded a construction company in 1950. By the time Nassef was eight years old, it had become one of Egypt's largest contractors, building roads and waterways along Egypt's upper Nile region. The business was nationalized in 1961 by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and renamed El Nasr Civil Works Company. Frustrated at being reduced to an employee at his own company, Onsi moved to Libya, where he built a new general contracting company.

After the signing of the Camp David accords, relations between Libya and Egypt deteriorated and Sawiris moved back to Egypt, leaving the family business behind for the second time. Onsi founded a new company called Orascom Construction Industries. Through partnerships with international companies working on local projects, Orascom had grown to be one of the largest private builders in Egypt by the mid-1990s.

Nassef, who had attended high school at the German International School of Cairo, went to college in the U.S. and, in 1982, graduated with a degree in economics from University of Chicago. He rejoined his father and two older brothers at OCI, which by that time had diversified into communications and real estate. By the end of the decade, the company had split into three separate entities: Orascom Telecom, helmed by the oldest brother Naguib; Orascom Hotels and Development, headed by the middle brother Samih; and Orascom Construction, now led by Nassef. As CEO, he focused on expanding the business abroad and into a new sector -- cement and building materials -- a division he sold to Lafarge in 2008 for $12.8 billion.

That same year, he entered the fertilizer business with the purchase of Egyptian Fertilizer Company. Through the expansion of its own operations and acquisitions, Orascom's fertilizer operation grew to become the world's third-largest nitrogen-based fertilizer producer.

In January 2013, a consortium of investors led by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, invested $1 billion in Orascom Construction Industries to help the Sawiris family transfer the company's listing from the Cairo Stock Exchange to NYSE Euronext Amsterdam. Sawiris said at the time of the announcement that the move was intended to facilitate future sector consolidation, mitigate Egypt country risk and help lower borrowing costs. The company, renamed OCI, started trading in Amsterdam on Jan. 25, 2013. Two years later, OCI spun off its construction business into a separate company, dual-listed on the Dubai and Cairo stock exchanges.

A Coptic Christian, Sawiris is married with four children.

  • 1976 Founds new contracting company, Orascom Construction Industries.
  • 1998 Becomes CEO of Orascom Construction Industries.
  • 1999 OCI lists shares on Egypt's stock exchange, raising $109 million.
  • 2007 Takes a 10 percent stake in building materials firm Texas Industries.
  • 2008 Sells OCI's cement assets to Lafarge for $12.8 billion.
  • 2008 OCI expands into fertilizer; buys Egyptian Fertilizer Company.
  • 2013 Transfers OCI shares from Cairo to Amsterdam.
  • 2014 OCI wins tax case in Egypt.