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Thursday, 23 January 2020

My Morning Routine: Ahmed Ata, general manager of Saudi Egyptian Industrial Investment

Ahmed Ata, general manager of Saudi Egyptian Industrial Investment: My Morning Routine looks each week at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Ahmed Ata (LinkedIn), general manager at Saudi Egyptian Industrial Investment.

My name is Ahmed Ata, I am the general manager of Saudi Egyptian Industrial Investment (SEII), an investment management and private equity firm with a focus on in industrial and greenfield projects. I have worked in asset management for the past 20 years.

Mornings are my favorite time of the day. I enjoy the natural light and having some time to myself. I wake up around 6:30am to the noise of my lovely and exuberant daughters getting ready for school. I start the day with a cup of tea, checking my emails and WhatsApp and reading the paper. Then I go to the club for some morning exercise, usually walking or running.

I used to be a dedicated runner, participating in competitive runs of about 20km. This was around 10 years ago, however, and I haven’t done a long run for a while. I do still enjoy competing with my younger friends on a regular basis, and go for at least one run of 5-10km every week.

My daily commute is the best time to read Enterprise, along with a selection of other online news sources. I live an hour’s drive from where I work, so I like to make the most of the time spent commuting.

The rest of the day is usually spent working with our investment team on forming strategies, following up on implementation, monitoring performance, looking for new openings, and planning exits.

When it comes to reading I am really fond of history and biographies. Lately I read three books by historian Yuval Noah Harari: Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and 21 lessons for the 21st Century.

SEII was established in 1975 by the Egyptian and Saudi governments, and each holds a 50% stake. The company invests in Egypt and has complete financial and executive independence. We invest in promising industrial companies in the growth phase, and greenfield projects with plans either to export or fill an import gap in the Egyptian market.

I’m very proud of the work we do at SEII, and some exits and investments in particular really stand out: In 2017, SEII increased its stake in October Pharma to 27% from 21% for USD 1.5 mn. In 2018, we sold our share in Alex Carbon Black for USD 18 mn, and snapped up 38% of FarcoMake for medical supplies for USD 2 mn. And in September 2019, SEII purchased 10% from Arab Cotton Ginning at USD 2.5 mn.

We currently have two exciting investment prospects in energy and pharma, which are expected to close within 1Q2020.

Holidays are for adventure, rather than relaxation. My wife and I dream of traveling the world, so we visit a different country every year and spend our time exploring as much as possible. My favorite country so far is the UK: I love London and see it as being the capital of the world. There’s so much diversity and heritage: You can find anything there, from beautiful gardens and palaces to culture and excellent food.

Calendars, highlighters and sticky notes are my three best friends when it comes to staying organized. I also make sure that I set reminders on my phone for all meetings and deadlines so that I don’t forget anything. I also have a great team that helps me stay on track the entire time.

If I could choose anyone to sit down with for coffee and a chat, it would be Ahmed Zewail and Mohamed El Erian. They have both had such a profound impact on the world and are inspirational to me personally. When I was younger, I admired scientists more than any other group, and Zewail winning his Nobel Prize is one of the most vivid memories of my youth.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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