Loyalty, trust, empathy, respect, determination, and understanding; these are just a few of the qualities that have helped Mohamed Mansour emerge as the second richest man in Egypt with a net worth of $2.5 billion. It must be noted though that his journey to that exalted status was anything but easy.
Originally born into one of the most prominent business families in the town of Alexandria, Mansour had the best that life had to offer while growing up. Things however turned for the worse after the government nationalized his father’s business in the 60s. More nationalizations would come but Mansour and his father refused to give up. They worked hard to uphold their cherished family name and today, that work has paid off. Mohamed Mansour now controls the Mansour Group, which is the second-largest company in Egypt by revenue. Its holdings span about half a dozen companies with interests in automotive, retail, tourism, energy, and tech industries. The Mansour Group operates in over 120 countries around the world with tens of thousands of employees on their payroll. Such feats have fetched Mohamed Mansour a ton of respect. He has also been appointed to serve in a ministerial position in his country, a fact that would undoubtedly make his now-deceased father quite proud.
Mohamed Mansour’s Family Made a Fortune from The Cotton Business Before their Company was Nationalised by the Egyptian Government
Mohamed Mansour came into this world in 1948, the scion of a prominent business family that hailed from Alexandria. His father, Lofty Mansour, had set up a cotton company (known as the Egyptian Cotton Trading Company) in 1952 and a few years down the line, business was booming. The company boasted of about 30 staff and the resultant revenue afforded the Mansour family the wherewithal to reside in a lavish 40-room mansion. The little Mansour and his siblings lived life to the fullest and their father endeavored to pass on important life lessons to them.
One of the notable learning periods came in 1958 when a 10-year old Mansour was hit by a car while crossing the road. He was left with horrific injuries and the doctors contemplated amputating his leg. He stubbornly refused and proclaimed that he would recover someday. His father supported him and so for the next three years, he underwent various rehabilitation strategies. The little boy was largely stuck in one place during this period but his doting dad always spent the evenings with him. During these evenings, he taught him principles on how to become an honorable man and a good entrepreneur.
Mohamed Mansour would eventually regain the use of both of his legs in 1961, much to the delight of his dad. Their happiness however turned to sorrow two years later as the Egyptian government confiscated the company that Lofty had worked so hard to build up. A man who once boasted of impressive income now had to rely on a government monthly stipend of $75. Such a drastic change in fortune was enough to throw any ordinary fellow in despair but the senior Mansour decided to keep on trying. He moved out to Sudan, founded another cotton company, and utilized his sharp business acumen to grow it into a thriving concern.
Lofty’s success once more attracted the attention of the authorities and the Sudanese government forcibly took over his company in 1971. Having lost all that he had worked for in life twice, the senior Mansour didn’t know what to do anymore. It was his son, Mohamed Mansour, who advised him to start afresh, this time in Switzerland. He agreed and the cotton business he set up in the European country would form the basis for the billion-dollar Mansour Group.
He Studied Engineering in the United States Before Taking Over His Father’s Company in 1973
While helping his father to cope with nationalizations and other business threats, Mohamed Mansour did not neglect his studies. He attended the prestigious Victoria College in Alexandria where he excelled in both his academics and athletics. He was able to finish his secondary school education by the age of 14 and subsequently headed out to America where he enrolled in North Carolina University to study engineering. Mansour’s first few years of college saw him living a luxurious life as $200 monthly allowance checks rolled in from his dad.
Things however turned for worse after his dad’s company was nationalized. He had to scale down his lifestyle and pick up various part-time jobs to survive. He nonetheless managed to overcome all this adversity and received his degree in 1968. Mohamed Mansour then went on to obtain an MBA from Auburn University in 1971. Upon completing his master’s degree, he spent two years teaching at Auburn before heading back to Switzerland in 1973 to take over his father’s company.
List of Educational Institutions Attended by Mohamed Mansour
- Victoria College Alexandria
- North Carolina State University
- Auburn University Alabama
Mansour is the Chairman and Founder of Mantrac and Al Mansour Automotive
The foundation for the Mansour Group may have been laid by Mohamed Mansour’s father but it was he that took it to the great heights that it occupies today. Upon taking charge of the company in 1973, Mansour came up with the bright idea to veer away from cotton and go in new directions. This direction was automotive and he snagged a deal with General Motors to be their sole distributor in Egypt. From solely distributing GM vehicles in Egypt, Al Mansour Automotive gained the rights to distribute GM cars on the entire African continent.
Al Mansour Automotive is now the largest GM dealership in the world and also has exclusive agreements with the likes of Chevrolet. Mansour also has a lucrative deal with the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar. Under the terms of the 1977 deal, his company, Mantrac, initially secured the right to exclusively distribute Caterpillar equipment in Egypt. Mantrac’s area of coverage has since expanded to sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, and Iraq. It is now the 5th largest Caterpillar dealer in the world.
He is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Man Capital LLP
Mohamed Mansour’s decades-long experience in the business world means that he is quite attuned to strong emerging areas and has no hesitation taking his company in that direction. It is this fact that motivated him to join hands with his eldest son, Lofty, to establish a private investment firm called Man Capital in 2010. Mansour had for long recognized that technology was the future and so he set up Man Capital to enable his family’s company to take advantage of opportunities in that area.
Man Capital is now headquartered in London and has dozens of employees across Asia, Europe, and the U.S. They seal about two deals each year and they have made investments in Vanguard Maritime Logistics Firm, Millennium Offshore Services, and telecom infrastructure provider IHS Towers. The company has also invested in tech start-ups such as Snowflake and Adyen. Mansour also had the good fortune of being amongst the early investors in big tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and Spotify; meaning that whatever shareholdings he has there would have increased multiple folds.
Mohamed Serves as President of Mansour Group Which Owns and Operates Several Enterprises in the World
Mohamed Mansour and his family now house all their business interests under a conglomerate known as the Mansour Group. The Multinational Corporation is the second most valuable company in Egypt. It generates annual revenue of more than $7 billion thanks to diverse business pursuits. Apart from Mantrac, Al Mansour Automotive, and Man Capital, there is also Manfoods which has a franchising agreement with American fast-food giants, McDonald’s. They, therefore, operate hundreds of McDonald’s restaurants all throughout Egypt. Another lucrative arm of the Mansour Group is Al-Mansour Holding Company for Financial Investments. The subsidiary has the exclusive rights to distribute tobacco products from Imperial Brand in Egypt.
Mansour Group also has sole distribution rights for other foreign products such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Compaq, Red Bull, and UPS. Al Mansour Financial also operates the largest supermarket chain in Egypt, Metro Markets, as well as the discount stores chain, Kheir Zaman.
Mohamed Mansour has also spread his tentacles to other lucrative areas such as real estate, tourism, telecom, media, and entertainment. For instance, his Palm Hills Development is billed as the second-largest real estate developer in the country. They deal in residential, commercial, and resort projects and have an impressive roster of 29 projects in West Cairo, East Cairo, The North Coast, and the Red Sea. The company came into existence in 1997 and is currently listed on both the London and Egypt Stock Exchanges.
List of Companies Under the Umbrella of the Mansour Group
- Al Mansour Automotive
- Man Capital
- Al Mansour Holding Company for Financial Investments
- Mansour-Maghraby Investment and Development Company
His ManSports Invested $100 Million in Renowned Football Academy, Right to Dream
Another area where Mohamed Mansour is hoping to make both profits and impact is sports. The Egyptian billionaire initially toyed with the idea of buying a football club but his son convinced him to invest in a renowned football academy known as Right to Dream. The academy had been praised for its unconventional but successful way of doing things and so in April 2021, Mansour and his family poured in about £100 million to purchase the majority stake in the company through a new subsidiary known as ManSports.
Egyptian business giants Mansour Group invests $120m in Ghana's @right2dream academy – plans to expand in #Egypt (with Cairo academy), Ghana, Denmark &, intriguingly, UK too.
Mansour Group chairman is Africa's 7th-richest man.
RTD's journey goes on…https://t.co/4ghMtIESfX
— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) January 20, 2021
Under the terms of the agreement, Right to Dream will build a football academy for boys and girls in Egypt. They will also launch a professional women’s team in the Egyptian league as well as improve the activities at their academies in Ghana and Denmark. The money will also be used to support the operations of the professional Danish league side, FC Nordsjælland, which is owned by Right to Dream. Mansour has meanwhile revealed that it is his family’s love for football that inspired the deal. It is however not some charity handout but rather an investment that comes with fun, happiness, and purpose.
List of Businesses Where Mohamed Mansour Serves as a Board Member
- Social Fund for Development
- Mohandes Bank
- Caylon Bank
- Lead Foundation
- Mansour Automotive Company
- Egypt/ U.S. Business Council
- Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University
- The George Washington School of Business
- Coca Cola Company
- Egyptian Stock Exchange
- Trustees of the American University in Cairo.
Mohamed Mansour’s Four Year Tenure as Egypt’s Transport Minister Witnessed Several Highs and Lows
Mohamed Mansour’s exploits in the business world have not only fetched him an impressive fortune but also the admiration of many of his peers. It has also garnered him the respect of his countrymen and so in 2005, then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak tapped him to utilize his transport vehicles expertise and serve as the country’s transport minister. This was a tall order, given that Egypt’s transportation system was a mess, but Mansour was undeterred. He approached the task with the same zeal that had helped him to turn his father’s small cotton company into a giant conglomerate.
The business mogul instituted several reforms and utilized public-private partnerships (PPPs) in both the ports and road sectors. Under his watch, the transport ministry constructed hundreds of kilometers of highways and attracted $4 billion investment from the private sector in the country’s ports.
When it came to Egypt’s ancient railway network, which was losing about L.E. 1.4 billion ($89.4 million) a year, Mansour embarked on an extensive reform program. He offered training, pay raises, and performance-based incentives to the staff of the national railway company. He also cracked down on non-payment of fares by passengers and increased fares for air-conditioned and first-class coaches. All these reforms drastically reduced the rail sector’s losses and Mansour was praised for his actions. He however faced a barrage of condemnation after some tragic accidents occurred in the country. One was the sinking of a ferry which killed over 1000 people in 2006. Another was a train crash that claimed 18 lives and injured 36 people in October 2009. The train crash resurrected calls for Mansour to step down and he threw in the towel shortly after the accident.
The ace businessman has stayed out of politics since then and has maintained that he would not be going back again. According to him, it was a hard experience. He however appreciated it as it gave him the opportunity to step out of his normal haunts of Cairo and Alexandria and go to villages where he saw poor people and everyday normal life. For Mansour, his ministerial tenure was a fantastic experience that enabled him to see all sides of Egypt. He however would not be seeking a repeat as he now wants to focus on growing the Mansour Group into a major multinational global company.
List of Awards Received by Mohamed Mansour
- Forbes World’s Richest People List (#670) – January 2013
- Forbes World’s Richest People List (#764) – January 2012
- Forbes World’s Richest People List ($595) – January 2011.