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Interview with Ahmed A. El Sewedy, President and Chief Executive Officer of El Sewedy Electric
Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011

Biography

Subsequent to attaining his B.sc degree in Electrical Engineering from Cairo University in 1986, Ahmed joined his family’s business of manufacturing cables. Being an apprentice to the industry, he was assigned and assumed a diversity of roles, proceeding from one to another, in preparation for the business’s new leader. In 1997, he was appointed as the CEO of the company and initiated corporate strategies that shifted El Sewedy to a new horizon.

Starting with ONE cables factory, Ahmed master minded the current massive expansions of El Sewedy Cables and drove a 30% per annum growth of capacity, revenues and manufacturing plants to reach 30 factories by 2010. In May 2006, he led El Sewedy Cables IPO, and the private placement of shares on the Cairo and Alexandria stock exchange amounted to 1.29 billion Egyptian pounds representing 25% of the share capital of El Sewedy Cables. In November 2010, Ahmed changed Elsewedy Cables name to Elsewedy Electric in order to reflect current business expansions and diversification as an integrated energy solutions provider serving and reaching customers in five main markets – energy, infrastructure, industrial, building and residential - by operating in eight diversified sectors: cables and accessories, electrical products, energy measurement and management, transformers, communication, wind energy generation, solar energy, and EPC operations.

What are the main reasons behind why you changed the name of the company from ELSEWEDY Cables to ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC?

Even during lean economic times, we have been able to maximize our commitment to improve efficiency by ensuring that the management possess the expertise and talent necessary for the most critical business needs and has thus succeeded in maintaining a solid financial position. This led us to think and strategically plan to go beyond just being a cables manufacturer and serve a diversified portfolio of integrated energy products and services.

We changed our company name from ELSEWEDY Cables to ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC as “Cables” is not reflecting our business anymore. Currently, we serve our customers along the chain from the generation of energy up till the transmission, distribution, measurement and management of it through eight business

segments; Cables & Accessories, Electrical Products, Communications, Wind Energy Generation, Transformers, Energy Measurement & Management, Engineering & Contracting, and Solar Energy.

However, and since ELSEWEDY Cables is a very well – established and trusted brand having a strong market position, it has become the holding company for the Cables and Accessories sector which includes five main divisions; Power Cables, Special Cables, Winding Wires, Raw Materials, and Cables Accessories.

What are the key factors behind the success of ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC?

1. Expertise in the electrical field, 70 years now;
2. Vision, which makes us to think in continuous expansion;

3. Diversity, serving wide range of customer’s needs being able to deliver almost all services and products necessary to wrap up a project with innovative solutions for a range of fields and industries;
 4. Geographical presence, operating from different business hubs between Europe, Africa, and Middle East enjoying a variety of business incentives and number of free trade agreements being able to deliver

products and services at anytime to any destination in the best possible business setup;

5. Strong ability to penetrate the market within our region through building long and lasting relationships with our customers during the process of providing continuous solutions that attend to their needs;

6. Workforce, professionals who share their background, experience and expertise in a skilled, but homogenous group working always very hard to meet customer needs and to exceed market expectations.

What is the biggest difference you have noticed in business today compared to when you first started?

In 1938, when ELSEWEDY family started its business as a trader in electrical equipment, the market needs were completely different. Even when we started to distribute cables in the 60s, we were not thinking of the needs of customer. We were leading a very traditional merchant business. When we established Egypt’s fi rst private sector cables factory, Arab Cables, in 1986, we began to somehow understand that the market has special needs and certain demands. This is when we decided to provide the Egyptian market cables with international standards to meet the market needs.

Now, with our 30 industrial facilities located in 15 countries and exporting to more than 110 countries, we have created considerable dedication and focus to closely monitor, understand and provide integrated energy products and services tailored to our customers in different markets and locations, locally and globally.

With the growth of the Renewable Energy Sector across the world, how will ELSEWEDY develop their business to accommodate this new energy sector?

We decided to be part of the energy sector, as there is a growing need of energy globally and especially in developing countries. No Energy–No Growth! We became active in the field of renewable energies in specifically wind energy through our entity SWEG–ELSEWEDY for Wind Energy Generation.

The Wind energy has become, especially in the last years, one of the fastest growing industries worldwide, with an average of almost 30%. Over 38 Giga watt of Wind Energy production capacities were installed only during 2009 to reach in total more than 160 GW worldwide. Knowhow and access to technology is one of the main challenges that you face. The choice of partners was the key as the wind industry is a very competitive industry.

So we moved very fast. We decided on the gearless turbine at the forefront of technology, cheaper to maintain and more reliable than the conventional technology with gear box. Especially under conditions we are facing in Egypt’s climate which is distressing for these devices.

In the first step we acquired 30% of MTOI–MTorres Olvega Industrial in Olvega, Spain and increased finally our shares to 90% last year. With the acquisition of the majority stake in MTOI, ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC is manufacturing the majority of the components of a wind farm (turbines, towers, cables, transformers, transmission lines, etc.). The ability to offer those components besides the contracting and engineering activities is helping the Company to consolidate its position in the wind energy sector especially given the following important fact, that MTOI manufactures the top notch technology of gearless (direct drive) turbines, this technology is considered to be the best in the world. Currently the company is manufacturing the“TWT1.65MW” Turbine and will finish developing its new “TWT2.5MW” turbine very soon.

Furthermore we set up a joint venture with the German SIAG group one of the most reputable towers manufacturer worldwide. We started the production in Egypt in beginning 2010. We are promoting wind farms globally and focusing on markets we have knowledge in.

With climate change becoming an issue; how does ELSEWEDY see this affecting the energy sectors?

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Increased demand for energy implied increased production of it and thus more carbon emissions which in turn contributed to the climate change.

These changes has caused scientist, engineers and businessmen to think of ways for saving produced energy while finding new ways of producing energy from new alternative sources with no harmful emissions. Green, safe, and clean energy are the major messages communicated to all communities.

In this respect, ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC has started to meet the demand for, carbon free alternatives to conventional energy.

ELSEWEDY identifies, promotes designs and executes solar energy businesses/systems meeting local & international requirements; offering flexible financing schemes, carefully selected & tested products ensuring only high quality, trusted products for installation; experienced and trained professionals; and adds value to our clients through applying the highest quality and latest technology in an environmentally friendly and economic way.

What are the recent major projects / contracts that ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC has won and is working on?

Major Transmission & Distribution Projects

• a $178 million turnkey contract for a 500 kV single circuit transmission line in EGYPT (340 km from Abu Qir to Badr) has been awarded to the consortium of ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC T&D and COBRA (Spain).

• One of the huge projects being held in Qatar with Siemens for the power transmission system where the owner of the project is KAHRAMAA (Qatar’s General Electrical & Water Corporation) is supplying high voltage cables types 132 & 66 kV with a total amount value around QR191 million.

• ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC T&D with its top priority strategic plans and deep focus in the infrastructure projects inside Egypt and being one of the great providers for energy solutions in the development of the growth of our country, it has been awarded the Toshki (2) – East Owenat - 220 kV double circuit overhead transmission line project.

• Connecting the Egyptian East Cairo GIS S/S to Heliopolis GIS S/S. The project is under construction where we are designing, engineering, manufacturing, testing, delivering and installing on turnkey basis 220 kV.

• With the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) a contract was signed to dismantle earth wire and connect using OPGW. This was implemented in NABAQ S/S- NEWEBAA S/S 220 kV & NEWEBAA S/S- TABA S/S 220 kV.

• With the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) a contract was signed to dismantle earth wire and connect using OPGW. This was implemented in Baer El Abd S/S - Al Arish S/S 220 kV & Al Asher S/S - Abo Zaabal S/S 220 kV.

• In cooperation with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) a contract was taking place to connect Tebbin S/S - Abo Zabal S/S 500 kV.

• Contract Signed with ELSEWEDY Cement Company ELSEWEDY Cement Factory 220/11 kV Substation Extension Project.

• Contract Signed with Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO) for supplying and installing of 33/11 kV substations and 66/11 kV bulk supply points with 33 kV and 66 kV overhead transmission lines.

• Two major projects with a lifetime of two years financed by ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC amounting $110 million. The projects include rehabilitation and reinforcement of distribution networks in Maputo City and rehabilitation and reinforcement of distribution networks in Matola City- part.

• Algerian Electricity Company (Sonelgaz) awarded ELSEWEDY a contract to connect using OPGW Marsat S/SMostghanem S/S -Oud Sly S/S (150 km of OPGW).

Major Power Generation projects

• In Cameroon, ELSEWEDY POWER Signed an EPC Contract to build three diesel power plants in Cameron; specifically in Bamenda, Ekombitie/Mbalmayo and Ebolowa. Projects commenced on November 2010 and scheduled to be in fully operated by June 2011 following a very aggressive fast-track project schedule.

• Contract Signed with the Egyptian West Delta Electricity Production Company (WDEPC) for Abu Qir Thermal Power Plant Units 6 and 7, 2x650 MW Gas/Oil Fired Units, CP-117 (Contract Package for Electrical Equipment/Instrument Installation).

• In Yemen, two consortiums led by ELSEWEDY POWER won two international bids to build, own, operate and transfer HFO/Diesel power plants in Aden and Elhodeidda, Yemen. It is the first IPPs in Yemen on BOOT basis; total of 141.5 MW generates 1,113,528 MWh annually.

• Contract Signed with the Egyptian Cairo Electricity Production Company (CEPC) for Cairo West Thermal Power Plant Project - 2x350MW Gas/Oil Fired Units Power Transformers Package PO-113.

• In Sabha-Libya, the consortium of ELSEWEDY & Enviromena (UAE) was awarded the first, and yet the largest in North-Africa, photovoltaic solar power plant of 15 MW.

• In Syria, IFC prequalifi es the Consortium GMR-ELSEWEDY for the international bid to Build, Own, Own and Transfer Al Nasserieh IPP Power plant in Syria. It is Al-Nasserieh 180-250 MW is Syria’s first IPP.

Major contracts for advanced metering systems

• In France, ERDF “a subsidiary of French Utility EDF” contracted a consortium of Iskraemeco and Atos Origin “an international information technology company” for the deployment of 35 million meters.

• ERDF has selected Iskraemeco for one of the largest metering pilot installations in Europe. Iskraemeco will manufacture one third of the metering devices (100,000 meters) encompassed out of this pilot project.

The outcome of this pilot installation will be a key for the 2nd phase, the world’s largest smart metering project covering the deployment of 35 million meters.

• Iskraemeco supplied the advanced meter management (AMM) infrastructure, MDM (meter data management) billing, installation and commissioning for residential compounds - Elnakhil, Swan Lake, Industrial Park, Katamya Residence in EGYPT.

Major Supply contracts

• In Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the project with Technip Italy for Jubail export refinery in KSA, where the project owners are JV Aramco and Total involving supplying medium voltage cables with a total amount value of $20 million.

• ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC along with Nokia Siemens Network Group agreement for global supply, the group has been awarded to supply 1,240 km of Optical Fiber Cables with a value of $1,120,000 in EGYPT.

• Contract signed with ESCOM the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi with supplying 217 transformers of different ratings up to 1 MVA with a value of $ 1.55 M, as well as cables, conductors and jointing kits with a value of $275,000.

Major Communication projects

• In United Arab of Emirates, the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) has appointed the China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation (CPECC) as the EPC contractor to execute the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline (ADCOP) project. 3W Networks has been selected to provide the communications safety and security requirements for the pipeline (390 km of 48”) designed to transport 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil from ADCO facilities at Habshan to oil terminal in Fujairah.

• Libya General Company for Gas Transmission and Distribution (GCGTD), has selected PetroJet (EGYPT) to design and build a 250 km petroleum pipeline running from Entessar launching station to Sarrir power plant in Libya.

3W Networks has been selected as the Telecoms and Security Systems Integrator.

• In Qatar, EPIC for Wet Utilities Distribution Network at Westend Design of Telecommunications System to support a SCADA System, Fire Alarm System and Voice over IP (VoIP) Telephone System, procurement, Integration, Installation and Commissioning.

Do you classify ELSEWEDY as a key player in the electricity and infrastructure industry?

Yes, Elsewedy Electric has become a key player through providing complete integrated energy solutions; from raw materials such as metals and plastics as inputs across the spectrum of wires, cables; and electrical products such as advanced metering systems, distribution & power transformers, light poles, etc. to contracting and turnkey infrastructure projects and electricity generation through competitively advantaged wind technology, T&D networks as well as solar energy solutions.

Therefore, leveraging on group resources, financial capabilities and technical competence of its trustworthy professionals, subsidiaries and affiliates; ELSEWEDY expanded to the field of development, ownership and operation & maintenance of power generation and electricity T&D networks on the basis of BOO, BOT/BOOT and BLT agreements including independent power producing (IPP).

Are there any other recent developments by ELSEWEDY that our readers should be interested in?

Stepping ahead for a Green & Clean Environment is the Future of Energy. Solar Energy, was the latest addition in the sectors of ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC.

We fully anticipate our continuing efforts that lead to further shared success through more and more development and society contribution.

Realizing the importance of the Telecommunication solutions market and in a bid to increase its market penetration, ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC acquired a majority interest in 3W Networks in April 2010 opening up new markets for both the companies. 3W Networks is a leading technology based Communications Contractor and Systems Integrator primarily involved in providing Integrated Communication Solutions to Oil & Gas, Power Utilities, Telecom Operators, Transport and Fiber Optic Infrastructure sectors. 3W Networks offers its clients a comprehensive range of complete Turnkey Communication Solutions to suit any applications. 3W Networks’ expertise lies in understanding mission critical environments and providing customers with integrated solutions that support both present and future applications.

In parallel, ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC established a new business unit under the name R&D TECH specialized in design, construction and operation of water and environmental applications. Integrating our expertise in measurements and water applications, water meter business was introduced as an industrial facility being constructed in Egypt to serve the African region with a capacity of 500,000 units / year as a first phase, and penetrate the Syrian market with a production capacity of 250,000 units / year as well.

ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC T&D is taking serious steps to have a major involvement in the mega projects for the interconnection of the Nile basin countries, the West African pool as well as other interconnection projects between Egypt and gulf countries.

In 2010 ELSEWEDY CABLES – Egypt launched its EXHV cables to target the HV & EXHV supplying projects along with turnkey projects with a strategic mission for the next 3 to 4 years focusing on this product.

Opening a new potential market in Libya by building a production facility that will serve and support the high scale developments currently taking place in infrastructure, building & construction sectors in Libya.

Elsewedy Power Transformers is today ranging from 5 MVA to 200 MVA up to 220 kV covers the core type, 3 phase power transformers (step-up and step-down) as well as the auto transformers.

Targeting the European markets by following the Quality Standards required by these markets.

For example, by obtaining the UL, BASEC, NF and other certificates has enabled ELSEWEDY CABLES enter some European countries (ex: England, France, Austria, Romania, etc.).

How does ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC perceive CSR?

ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC recognizes both the business imperative and the moral obligation to carry out activities in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable manner.

ELSEWEDY ELECTRIC acknowledges that we have to “constantly” improve the corporate social responsibility based upon the following attributes:

• Continuous social contribution through improving community relations;

• The training and development of all its employees;

• Recognizing environmental, social, and economical needs of the communities we work in and involve in suitable initiatives that utilizes our skills, time, and financial support;

• Developing products and services using sustainable, safe methods of work and meeting quality standards to continuously improve our output for the benefit of all stakeholders.

• Promoting the public interest by encouraging community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public sphere.

 

Source: Elsewedy Electric

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