Corys Investments, the UAE family-owned business located in Dubai, announced in February 2020 its new joint venture (JV) with GF Piping Systems, a division of GF, and Egypt Gas, listed on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) and the largest company for natural gas infrastructure in the Middle East. The JV, in which Corys and GF will take the industrial lead, will invest in a major production site for plastic pipes to participate in the soaring Egyptian gas and water distribution market.

Currently, Egypt is undergoing a major government initiative to develop its gas and water infrastructure. In 2018, more than 1.3 mn households were connected to the network. According to Egyptian government forecasts, there is a plan for a similar number to be connected to the gas distribution network on an annual basis.

As Egypt undergoes its major infrastructure development across its vital cities, Invest-Gate sits with Richard Nakhla, general manager at Emirati pipe manufacturers Hepworth, a subsidiary of Corys Investments.

How do you see the investment climate in Egypt nowadays and what is your forecast?

Egypt’s investment climate is becoming more attractive and positive. With the economic reforms such as the new investment law coupled with the stability of the local currency, we believe that this is the right time to invest in the country.

The Egyptian market is diverse with good opportunities across multiple segments, and showing positive growth trends. Driven by the growth of the real estate and construction sectors due to the development of new cities as well as high spending on infrastructure projects as well as the industrial sector, the future outlook for the Egyptian market is promising.

With your current JV in Egypt, what are the projects you will be working on? Will you focus on Cairo only or will you expand in other cities, especially the new ones? 

The new JV in Egypt will establish a manufacturing facility to produce polyethylene pipes and fabricated fittings for the water and gas segments. The JV will also import from Switzerland-based GF different traded items, which will be available for all water and gas projects cross-country.

How do you view Egypt’s current infrastructure plan? And how can it be enhanced to comply with the density of the growing population? 

Egypt’s current infrastructure plan is very ambitious and is moving fast in terms of execution in major segments such as roads and gas networks. Water and sewage networks need a retrofit plan to address some current issues in existing systems, and we need to adopt new technology in the new systems to meet the high accelerating demand of the population.

According to Corys Investment, your company works on implementing sustainable infrastructure so how was it applied in the Middle East? Can you give us examples of some projects you worked on and the technologies or products you use? 

The sustainable infrastructure products used are related mainly to polyethylene pipes and fittings in major applications such as that of water and gas. These products have a working life of more than 50 years with minimum service failures; it also protects the working systems from any possible leakage or contamination.

We had supplied many projects in the region such as The Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, in addition to many water and gas transmission projects in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, the Asian-Pacific region, and Africa.

Will you be partnering with the private sector, such as developers, in Egypt in the future?

Our business plan is to provide the private sector with the best technical solutions and sustainable products through long-term agreements.

Moving to the industrial sector, will you be supplying factories with any of your products? 

Yes, we can supply pipes and fittings to all kinds of factories for their different industrial applications.

Given that Egypt struggles with waste management, what are the best methods we can adopt to eliminate its dangers and protect the environment in your opinion?  

The best solution is to work toward establishing a recycling culture in the country, while encouraging investments in establishing new companies and factories that operate in the waste management industry.

Can you give us a little background information about your company and its greatest successes? 

Hepworth manufactures and markets integrated piping systems to the civil and building construction sectors. This business was established over 40 years ago in Dubai, and now we manufacture pipes and fittings in three locations in the UAE and one location in Oman. In addition, Hepworth trades through companies operating in Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, while and exporting to the MENA region.