Egypt Independent

Sawiris withdraws from Canadian telecommunications market



Businessman Naguib Sawiris has announced that after the Candian government blocked his takeover of a Canadian fiber-optic network, he will now withdraw investments from Canada.
 
“I am finished with Canada, I tell you,” he said, in an interview with Al-Ahram Online. “The world is big and my money can go anywhere.”
 
His main issue was what he cites as Canada’s lack of clarity in the policies of the telecommunications sector in Ottawa, Canada, putting WIND Mobile, the newest wireless telecommunications firm in Canada, at the risk of bankruptcy.
 
Sawiris funded the start-up of the project in 2008 through Orascom Company, later selling his stake in Orascom to Vimpelcom, a European company, in 2011, losing his ties with the WIND Mobile project.
 
Sawiris faced a major setback this month after the Canadian government thwarted his efforts to buy fiber-optic network Olstrem, a subsidiary of Manitoba telecommunications services, due to national security concerns.
 
In an interview with Reuters, Wednesday, Sawiris said that Canada behaves like a third-world country and not as a country that has an advanced economy.
 
He added Canada was not serious about allowing direct foreign investment and liberating the telecommunications market.
 
Sawiris said he would withdraw his investments in Canada in objection to the government’s attitude, adding he plans to invest in the Italian market where he had successful experiences before. Sawiris pointed out he also plans to invest US$1 billion in Egypt over the coming 18 months.
 
Taycoon Sawiris said that the “non-transparent” telecommunications policies in Ottawa would lead to the failure of WIND on the long term.
 
“Our Government is open to foreign investment in all sectors of the economy, but not at the expense of the security of Canadians,” said Canadian Industry Minister spokesperson Jessica Fletcher, by email.