Cairo: Egypt’s prominent industrialist Mohammed Farid Khamis, dubbed the “giant of carpets”, has died in the US, his corporation said. He was 80. Khamis had been in the US for medical treatment. In June, he underwent heart surgery there.
“Egypt has lost a great patriotic figure, who spent his life serving this country,” said the Egyptian Investors’ Federation that Khamis headed until his death on Saturday.
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Khamis’ fame was linked to Oriental Weavers Group that he set up in 1979 and has since emerged as one of the biggest in the world. He owned several plants manufacturing carpets, and a real-estate development company. He co-founded the British University in Egypt, which paid homage to him as a “patriotic man of science and industry”.
Egyptian Manpower Minister Mohammed Safan Sunday mourned Khamis’ death.
“He was one of the national industry’s pioneers, devoted to his homeland and helped provide jobs for young people. He was a patriotic man of a unique caliber,” the minister added in a statement.
Khamis was a member of the now-defunct National Democratic Party of late president Hosni Mubarak who was forced to resign in a 2011 popular uprising.
Khamis was also a member of the Mubarak-era advisory Shura Council where he headed the House’s energy and Industry Commission.
He staunchly backed President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi. In early 2014, he pledged 30 million Egyptian pounds in donation to the pro-development Egypt Fund on condition that Al Sissi, a defence minister at the time, runs for presidency, according to Al Masry Al Youm newspaper. Al Sissi was elected a president some months later.
Khamis’s body is expected to be flown to Egypt on Wednesday for burial. He is survived by a son and two daughters.