15 CEOs to watch in 2015: Issad Rebrab

15 CEOs to watch in 2015: Issad Rebrab

Issad Rebrab, CEO, Cevital, Algeria

The chairman of Algeria’s largest privately-owned conglomerate, Cevital, Issad Rebrab is reportedly his country’s first ever billionare, with a personal net worth of around $3.2bn, according to Forbes. Cevital’s foundations are in food and agriculture, and the company owns one of the world’s largest sugar refineries.

Over the last two years, Cevital, which Rebrab founded in 1998, has been on an acquisition spree in Europe, snapping up distressed assets in France, Spain and Italy.

Since 2013 the company has  bought the Spanish aluminium smelter Alas Aluminium; a French industrial materials company; the French assets of the Spanish household appliance manufacturer, Fagor; and Lucchini, an Italian steelmaker.

Cevital lost out on a bid for an integrated steelworks in Algeria, as the company’s bid to become a major player in industrial metals continued.At the end of 2014, Cevital acquired a 15% stake in drinks company Rouiba on the Algerian stock exchange.

That acquisition spree is likely to continue into 2015. As Rebrab has said, the company, like Algeria itself, has an oversupply of liquidity that it needs to deploy.

With a drive to expand and a desire to build supply chains in food and natural resources, there are likely to be attractive opportunities across North and sub-Saharan Africa, where competitive markets for consumer goods and basic commodities are opening up for competition. Cevital has ventured south already. In October 2014 it signed an investment agreement worth $3bn to develop agricultural production of sugar cane in Sudan. Local press reports that the investment could rise to $6bn and include oil assets.


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Written by Alexa Dalby

Alexa Dalby is a freelance arts and business journalist, with over 20 years varied experience of writing and broadcasting about Africa, and is currently assistant editor of African Business and African Banker magazines. She is a film critic and a specialist in African and Middle Eastern cinema.

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