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Egyptian hotel magnate checks into Switzerland

A member of Egypt’s wealthiest family is to move his hotel empire from Cairo to Altdorf, Switzerland in a move designed to increase the firm’s growth. Chairman Samih Sawiris said he plans to relocate Orascom Hotels and Development and list its shares on the Swiss stock exchange.

A new holding company, Orascom Development Holding, will launch a public share exchange offer of one new share for each 10 existing shares as of 30 March. The group said it has already received irrevocable undertakings of acceptance of the swap of around 76%, including from the Sawiris family.

The move follows news from last year that OH&D obtained rare permission from the Swiss government to develop a luxury resort in the Alpine village of Andermatt.

Orascom Hotels is part of the Orascom group, founded in 1950 by Onsi Sawiris, Samih’s father. It holds a portfolio of business activities ranging from contracting to railways and navigation services to manufacturing, and also maintains significant holdings in telecommunications, information technology, and networking.

Samih said the Orascom companies have “grown too big for the local stock markets,” and that the move should help reach European investors who at the moment “can’t or won’t invest in Egypt.”

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