Naguib Sawiris

Naguib Sawiris

La Mancha Resources

Naguib Sawiris’ continuing love affair with gold could result in more fireworks this year. Speaking at a mining conference in November, the Egyptian businessman who made his fortune in telecommunications, said any ‘offcuts’ from the merger of Barrick Gold with Randgold Resources would interest him, especially if they had a mine life of 10 years and produced between 150,000 to 250,000 ounces annually. It’s hard to doubt Sawiris who, since buying La Mancha in 2012, has systematically acquired major shareholdings in three mining companies: Evolution Mining in Australia; and in Africa, Endeavour Mining and Golden Star Resources, the latter deal unveiled in August. La Mancha offered $125.7m for three board seats and a 30% stake in Golden Star, which operates two mines in Ghana. Golden Star’s plan is to use the cash for expansion. Sawiris also said he intended to persuade one or more of his companies to list in London thus filling the void left by Randgold Resources. He also thinks the gold industry at large should be considering the merits of consolidation, particularly the mid- to small-caps likening the merger of Barrick and Randgold to the marriage of two seventy-year olds: “What about the younger ones?” he asked. He also thinks his personal style of entrepreneurianism can make a difference saying recently that mining company boards were dominated by engineers, geologists and bankers … but no businessmen. “I tell them to take risks,” he said.

“There is more sense and more urgency for smaller mining companies to come together.”

LIFE OF NAGUIB

Naguib Sawiris is one of the richest people in Egypt with a fortune of $3.9bn earned mostly from his involvement in mobile telecoms company, Orascom. He received a Masters’ degree in Technical Administration from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from German Evangelical School in Cairo. In 2015, he offered to buy an island from Italy or Greece to provide a home for refugee Syrians.