Onsi Sawiris founded a construction company with a few friends in Upper Egypt. By digging waterways and paving roads, he built his businesses into one of Egypt's largest general contractors.
The business was nationalised and later became known as the El Nasr Civil Works Company. Not content to be an employee in his own company, Eng Sawiris left for Libya where he continued his construction career.
Eng Sawiris returned to Egypt and founded Orascom as a general contracting and trading company with five employees.
By the early 1990s, Eng Sawiris had established Orascom as a leading private sector contractor by working in partnership with international companies pursing projects in Egypt.
In the mid 1990s, Eng Sawiris transferred management control to his son, Nassef Sawiris, who embarked upon an ambitious diversification strategy through investments in complementary businesses such as cement and building materials.
Orascom announced its investment in Contrack International.
Nassef Sawiris oversaw the initial public offering of shares in the company on the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange. OCI's first cement subsidiary, the Egyptian Cement Company commenced operations.
The Algerian Cement Company commenced operations.
OCI announced investments in Pakistan Cement Company, Tasluja cement factory (Iraq) and the BESIX Group (Belgium). The BESIX Group was awarded the contract to build the world's tallest building the Burj Khalifa (formerly the Burj Dubai).
OCI announced investments in the United Cement Company of Nigeria, Ciment Blanc d'Algerie, Emirates Cement Company, Cementos La Parrilla (Spain), Egyptian Basic Industries Corporation (fertiliser), and Pakistan Cement Company.
OCI announced investments in Egyptian Sack Company, Van Cement plant (Turkey) and Grupo GLA (Spain). The fifth line at the Egyptian Cement Company began operations.
OCI announced investments in Al Safwa Cement Company (Saudi Arabia), Samba SPA (largest aggregates supplier in Algeria), Sorfert Algeria (fertiliser), Syrian Cement Company, Sangwon Cement (DPRK), Mafikeng Cement Company (South Africa) and the Egyptian Fertilizer Company. On December 10th, OCI announced that an agreement had been signed with Lafarge for the divestment of the OCI cement group.
On January 23rd, OCI confirmed that the share transfer of 100% of Orascom Building Materials Holding, the holding company for the cement group assets, to Lafarge was executed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange. In February OCI announced Abraaj Capital was to merge its fertilizer production operations under OCI. In July, OCI acquired an 18.1% stake in the Gavilon Group, one of the world's leading grain and fertilizer trading companies. OCI also increased its stake in EBIC to 60% during the year.
During the year, OCI continued to grow its fertilizer operations through strategic investments and joint ventures including its 50/50 joint venture with FITCO/Fertipar, Brazil's second largest urea distributor. OCI also launched expansion initiatives at EFC to add a UAN blending unit and an AS line. EBIC commissioned in May 2009 to become Egypt's largest merchant ammonia producer. The Construction Group was awarded Egypt's first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project, the New Cairo Waste Water Treatment plant in partnership with Spain's Aqualia.
In January, OCI announced a 50/50 joint venture with Morgan Stanley to invest in infrastructure assets in the Middle East and Africa. In June, OCI formed a partnership with Hindustan Construction Company's (HCC) Hindustan Infrastructure Limited (HIL) to pursue PPP's and BOT's tendered by the National Highways Authority of India. On May 30th, OCI acquired 100% of Royal DSM A.M.'s nitrogen fertilizer and melamine business units to form OCI Nitrogen. In August, OCI acquired 100% of MICRO Chemie B.V., an ammonia terminal operator in the port of Rotterdam. In November, OCI reduced its stake in Notore Chemicals Limited to 13.5% from 23% at 2.5x book value.
During the year, OCI acquired 100% of Pandora Methanol LLC, which was renamed OCI Beaumont. The facility is a one million metric ton capacity integrated ammonia and methanol producer located in Beaumont, Texas on the Gulf Coast of the United States.