Billionaire Sawiris Says Ready to Invest in Argentina, Brazil

Orascom CEO Sawiris Is Eager to Invest in Argentina

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris says he’s interested in investment opportunities in Argentina and Brazil, mainly in the mining and telecommunications industries.

Sawiris is ready to make investments from $250 million to $500 million in Argentina, the businessman said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Erick Schatzker from Buenos Aires.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri is attempting to attract foreign investment in South America’s second largest economy, Sawiris said. Macri assumed power in December, promising to unwind the protectionist policies and uncontrolled spending of his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Sawiris, 62, used a series of telecommunications transactions to build a fortune that has made him Egypt’s second-richest person, with a net worth of about $4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Regarding Brazil, Sawiris reiterated his interest in Oi SA, the phone company that filed for bankruptcy with $20 billion of debt. Sawiris said Oi would have good potential once its debt is restructured and provided the company gets a capital increase and a strong industrial plan. Sawiris said he’s been in talks with Oi bondholders.

Oi filed for protection from creditors in June amid a looming bond payment. Sawiris said at the time that a merger between Oi and Tim Participacoes SA makes “a lot of sense,” but that first Oi needs to stand on its own feet.

Sawiris reiterated his interest in the Italian telecommunications market. He ventured into Italy in 2005 when he bought Wind, the country’s third-largest mobile-phone provider. He later sold the business and now wants to build one of the biggest Internet providers in the country with his Italia Online investment.

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