A very insightful interview with Orascom‘s Naguib Sawiris. For the record.
To me, here is one of the most telling quote in the Naguib Sawiris interview, “Worse than that, two of them offered to buy me out at a very significant profit. But that means I’m a broker, not an industrialist. I’m not the kind of guy who goes for the money—it’s about success. And this, I would consider it a bribe: We give you some more money, but go home and don’t make our life difficult. It would also be an admission of failure, which is not in my character.“
Globalive financier Naguib Sawiris: ‘We will make pain, and they will suffer’ (emphasis added)
Iain Marlow From Friday’s Globe and Mail Published Friday, Oct. 29, 2010 2:02PM EDT Last updated Monday, Nov. 01, 2010 8:11AM EDT
Naguib Sawiris is a good friend to have. In 2008, after a dinner meeting in Cairo, the Egyptian telecom titan decided to plunge roughly $700 million into Globalive, Anthony Lacavera’s challenger to the Big Three Canadian wireless players. Globalive finally launched its Wind Mobile service this past December, after two years of holdups and grovelling before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. So far, it has signed up 100,000 customers, and Sawiris is about to invest hundreds of millions of dollars more to keep it going. Why? For one thing, he likes Lacavera. But Sawiris is also determined to get some payback. Since taking over the telecom division of his father Onsi’s sprawling Orascom empire (which started out in construction and now includes hospitality and IT), Sawiris has signed up 120 million subscribers in Africa, South Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Korea. And to hear him tell it, not even the Supreme Leader himself caused as much hassle for Orascom Telecom as did the CRTC. As for Bell, Rogers and Telus, they might have messed with the wrong guy. Here’s what Sawiris has to say—with a few notes of our own.
How did you meet Tony Lacavera?
We go where people don’t dare to go. You have to ask yourself why there isn’t a Vodafone or a Telefónica or a Deutsche Telekom or an Orange in Canada. It’s the only country in the world that doesn’t have any foreign operators. But we don’t mind the bureaucracy or the risks involved, so that’s how we got to know each other. Tony was nice enough to come to Cairo and have this famous dinner in a Chinese restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel. Read the rest of this entry »