Sheikh Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi took over 80 percent of Near East Financial Corporation, a Switzerland based holding company that owns the Paul Ries group of companies with subsidiaries in Ethiopia and Djibouti for an undisclosed amount.
Ries Group of companies consists of Paul Ries & Sons Ethiopia Ltd and Savon et Ries of Djibouti.
Daniel Le Roux the new CEO of Near East Financial Corporation visited all the companies recently and assured them that business will continue as usual. Daniel, who is now based in Dubai, UAE oversees all the companies’ activities both in Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Previously working as a management member of the Financial Corporation, Daniel succeeded one of the grand sons of Paul Ries as CEO.
The remaining 20 percent of Near East Financial Corporation shares is still under the control of the Paul Ries families.
Recently the business tycoon bought Ries Engineering one of the subsidiaries of the Paul Ries Groups - the sole agent of Caterpillar heavy duty machineries and FORD vehicles in Ethiopia - including Ries Engineering’s share in Nyala Motors. The purchase price has also not been disclosed.
Ries Engineering is the major shareholder of Nyala Motors, the sole distributor of Nissan Vehicles and Machineries. Nyala was established in April 1973 with a capital of 50,000 birr.
Originally established in 1913 by Paul Ries Sr. as a quality repairs services for vehicles, Paul Ries and Sons have been the authorized and sole distributor of Peugeot vehicles and have been giving after sales service in Ethiopia for several decades. The company in recent years has become the sole distributor of the Indian Tata Group vehicles and South Korea’s Ssangyong Rexton vehicles.
The Djiboutian subsidiary, Savon et Ries, established in 1950, is involved in maritime transit and transport. It also represents Messina Line and Cosco Bulk, two big liners.
Saudi Star, a company which Sheikh al Amoudi recently established to cultivate food in Ethiopia destined for export, had earlier bought Caterpillar brand machineries worth 80 million dollars from Ries Engineering for its farm.
Founded as an independent company in 1965, Ries Engineering is one of the pioneering dealership in Ethiopia. Prior to that, it was operating as an engineering department of Paul Ries and Sons since 1961. Besides Caterpillar, Ries Engineering is the sole distributor of internationally known brands of heavy machineries such as Massey Ferguson, Perkins, Marini, and Berthoud.
The acquisition will make the billionaire the biggest sole distributor of several vehicle brands in the country. Equatorial Business Group (EBG) one of the affiliates of MIDROC Ethiopia owned by the business tycoon, is the sole distributor of Mazda and Volvo vehicles and machineries. Another affiliate of MIDROC, National Motors Corporation (NMC) is also the sole agent of Chevrolet, Opel Cars and Renault Trucks and Buses as well as being the authorized dealer of Isuzu Vehicles in Ethiopia.