Ahmed Ezz – steel industry businessman – is an Egyptian entrepreneur, industrialist, and former politician. He was born in Cairo in 1959, into a family that had been trading in construction materials for three generations. His father’s business, Ezz Foreign Trade Co, was a leading importer of steel rebars into Egypt.
Ahmed Ezz attended Port Said, a renowned English school in Cairo’s affluent Zamalek district, where he quickly developed a reputation for academic excellence. Mr Ezz continued his education at Cairo University, graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1982.
Mr Ezz became increasingly involved in the family business while studying at university, taking a keen interest in expanding the company’s overseas trade operations, and playing a leading role in establishing an efficient local distribution network in Egypt. Already an energetic and industrious entrepreneur, by the age of twenty-one he had built relationships with local suppliers and developed import and export operations with suppliers in other countries, predominantly in Eastern Europe.
In the mid-1980s, Mr Ezz ventured into industrial production, founding the Ezz Ceramics and Porcelain Company, and building a state-of-the-art plant in Sadat City. The company, producing premium-quality household tiles, quickly became synonymous with high-quality products and unrivalled design, and established a strong market share in a competitive market. Ezz Ceramics and Porcelain Company was floated on the Egyptian Stock Exchange in 1998, with Mr Ezz holding two thirds of the company’s shares.
Building on his family’s trading business, Mr Ezz became interested in the steelmaking industry in the early 1990s. He established Ezz Steel in 1994 and embarked on a major investment in steelmaking capacity in Egypt. In 1994, the company invested in its first greenfield plant in Sadat City, with a production capacity of 1.0mtpa. The following year, it acquired El-Baraka rolling mills in Ramadan City, with a production capacity of 0.5mtpa. In 1998, Mr Ezz – in partnership with Danieli Group (BIT: DAN) – began building Al Ezz Flat Steel, a state-of-the-art plant in Suez, Egypt, completed in 2002.
Ezz Steel was floated on the Egyptian stock exchange in August 1999. It was also floated on the London stock exchange through a GDR (Global Depository Receipt) Program, with Mr Ezz holding a 60.3% share in the company.
Ezz Steel purchased its first stake in ANSDK (Alexandria National Steel Company) by the end of 1999. This investment was funded through the issuance of a Bond on the international stock market. Ezz Steel and ANSDK entered into a strategic alliance, with the latter renamed Ezz Dekheila Steel Company (EZDK). Ezz Steel acquired a majority shareholding in Ezz Dekheila Steel Company in 2005, having bought out the foreign shareholders – including the African Development Bank and IFC (the World Bank) – and invested new equity through a private placement on the stock market. Ezz Steel had become the largest steel producer in Egypt by 2005.
Today, Ezz Steel is the largest private steel producer in the Middle East, and an increasingly important player on the global stage, with annual production of 5 million tons of finished steel per year, and exports that will exceed 1.0 million tons in 2021 with a growth rate of 44% compared to 2020.
Ahmed Ezz was elected as a member of parliament representing the rural district of Menouf-Sadat in 2000 and 2005. As elected representative, he played an instrumental role in a vast array of community projects, enabling his constituents to access healthcare, education, training and cultural opportunities that they otherwise would have struggled to access.
From November 2000 to February 2011, Ahmed Ezz served as the Chairman of the Planning and Budget Committee in the Egyptian Parliament. Known as a reformer, he advocated for market liberalisation and private sector growth, as well as reforms to modernize Egypt’s budgetary process, tax regime and public spending efficiency and accountability. Mr Ezz was elected by his peers to chair this high-profile committee twice, playing a critical role in steering spending and budgetary decisions through challenging economic times.
Serving in office for more than a decade, Mr Ezz played a pivotal role in bills related to increasing investment on infrastructure, tax reforms, monitoring public finances, civil service reforms, reforming health insurance, and instilling transparency and efficiency in subsidy programmes.