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Transforming a family business through innovation

Surviving well beyond a single generation has been a major challenge for many family-owned companies in the Middle East and North Africa. In particular, there is often a clash between the “established” way of doing things and changing the business to match evolving market conditions

For Magdy Hosni, innovation and adaptability have played a key part in carrying forward the legacy of their family business. He is the chairman of the board and CEO of Alexandria Metal Forming Company (Alexform), a subsidiary of Alex Group, which is a multi-disciplinary conglomerate founded more than 60 years ago by his grandfather.

Magdy has been at the helm of Alexform for the past 20 years and is a third-generation owner of their family business, together with his brother Mamdouh. “We serve the metal construction sector, providing our clients with a complete service starting from trade, all the way to the manufacturing of semi-component products,” he says.



Innovation in machines and products

Magdy saw the potential in the Egyptian market, a country with a population of almost 100 million and undergoing an economic revival that has fuelled significant infrastructure spending.

“We have a vision, and we see where things are going,” he says, adding that sustainability is an important component of their business. “We develop eco-friendly products, such as our isolated panel, which helps a structure save energy and limit electricity consumption.”

As part of this initiative, Alexform follows ISO management system standards (MSS). It has also received the internationally recognised LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification, which is a symbol of sustainability achievement. Through innovation, the company was able to help their customers save on building costs and realise their own sustainability targets.

“That's how we become innovators and transfer the technology in the form of machinery – the latest in our field,” he says. “Being able to predict the needs of the market, develop products, and transfer global know-how to the local manufacturing processes have given us a competitive edge.”

Human development is imperative

Magdy adds that their vision for the family business goes beyond just the bottom line. In particular, they see value in investing in human development. “The company’s nerve centre is its manpower – the second and third line of leaders. It is important for us to invest in human development in the form of continuous education and training courses.

“We also include them in the entire decision-making process. We always keep them updated about the latest technologies and trends in their specific fields, whether they are engineers, finance department employees, or technicians,” he says.

Nurturing individual talents is essential, especially in the family, says Magdy, as Alexform looks ahead to welcoming the next generation of leaders.

Choosing the right banking partner

Sustaining a decades-old family business also requires a robust bank partner, according to Magdy. This influenced his decision to turn to HSBC.

“I always find that HSBC has a unique way of thinking, when it comes to bank-client relationship. They’re different and ahead of their time when it comes to helping their clients achieve their business goals. They truly consider their clients as partners and the service they provide reflects success and comfort,” the Alexform CEO says.

“The bank’s culture is deeply embedded in the team; they deliver a seamless banking service. The introduction of the digital banking component made everything smooth and easier for us. We haven’t encountered any difficulties. Dealing and working with HSBC has been an enjoyable experience.”

Building a legacy

Magdy is grateful for the vision and effort his grandfather and father have put into the family business. He has taken on the mantle of preserving the company legacy, transforming the business, and ensuring that it is passed on to future generations. With its commitment to innovation, a strong partnership with a reliable bank, and expertise honed through years of industry experience, Alexform is poised to grow in a new era.

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