The growth of Egyptian Steel
Stepping into the steel industry in 2010, propelled by over $2 billion of investment, Egyptian Steel is growing to become a leading diversified manufacturer and stalwart of the recovering Egyptian economy. Backing up substantial capex with robust social, environmental and operational programmes, the company is looking forward to years of sustained growth and success. Since we spoke to CEO Ahmed Abou Hashima in the July 2015 issue, the company has undergone a number of structural changes and is now in the process of diversifying its offering to the domestic and international market.
Abou Hashima is proud of how far his company has come – and is optimistic about its place in developing the country, he says: “Steel is crucial for the economy. We have a shortage of 8 million housing units and infrastructure. The whole population lives on only 7 percent of the land. In order to develop Egypt, steel is vital for at least several decades. It’s a strategic industry that employs thousands of people.”
Operations are shared across a number of subsidiaries which consist of Egyptian Steel for Building Materials, National Port Said Steel (NPSS), and IIC for Steel Plants Management. Together, these divisions enable the company to provide a range of steel production capabilities to the market – supported by a number of technological innovations.
“When all four plants of Egyptian Steel are at full capacity we will be able to acquire a 20-25 percent market share in Egypt,” says Abou Hashima, “We’re also expanding into the cement industry with a production capacity of 2 million tons per year, and going into IPO is in our plan, although there’s no set time for it yet.
“We have already taken our first step into the cement industry by establishing the sister company Egyptian Cement, and in the future, after mainly operating in steel and cement we might look into diversifying into other building materials such as wood, ceramic, and glass. Our vision is to make the group a one-stop shop for all building materials.”
Webuild and Lane to build railway in Texas
Webuild, formerly known as Salini Impregilo, has announced a US$16bn agreement to build a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston in Texas. The project has been described as the “final step” before financial closure for the company, which Webuild said was“foreseen in the coming months”.
Passengers using the 236-mile long railway, which was developed by Texas LLC, will travel in Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains at 200mph, making one scheduled stop at Brazos Valley near Texas A&M University. This aims to shorten the total journey time between the two terminals from almost four hours to around 90 minutes, Texas LLC claims. The company hopes commercial operations will begin in 2026.
According to Webuild, the new line will aim to target an estimated 100,000 “super commuters” who travel between the two cities by car and plane every week. Webuild said it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 101,000 tonnes per year.
This contract is an update on a preliminary design-build agreement signed with Texas Central LLC in 2019, valued at $14bn. The deal confirms the US as Webuild's single biggest market, comprising some 35% of the group’s total order backlog.
Around 17,000 new direct jobs will be created as a result of the project, as well as 20,000 indirect ones. U.S. suppliers from states aim to provide an estimated US$7.3bn of materials to construct the railway in conjunction with services provided by Italian suppliers.
Webuild and Lane will oversee the civil engineering works of the project. This includes the tracks themselves, the viaducts, and depot buildings.
Three facts about bullet trains
- The fastest commercially operated bullet train is not in Japan, but China. It is capable of reaching speeds of up to 268mph… with passengers onboard.
- Bullet trains are one of the safest ways to travel. Over 10bn passengers have been on board a bullet train and no-one has ever been killed on one.
- The “tunnel boom effect” is powerful enough to blow a freight train over. When a bullet train exits a tunnel at over 200mph, the resulting sonic boom effect is so strong, it could blow a normal freight train off its tracks.
Image: Texas Central LLC.