U.S. data centre firm in venture with Egyptian telecoms tycoon

CAIRO Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:33am EDT

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CAIRO (Reuters) - U.S.-based data centre firm Switch SUPERNAP has set up a joint venture with specialist investment companies in Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris' telecoms empire to win business in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The joint venture with Accelero Capital and Orascom TMT Investments will build and operate data centers for clients such as cloud computing, internet and financial firms, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

The Luxembourg-based company will target SUPERNAP's existing clients, which include Google (GOOG.O) and Ebay (EBAY.O), CEO Khaled Bichara told Reuters.

Bichara, who is also CEO of Accelero Capital, said data transmission speed and regulatory issues may attract clients to locally built data centers.

"We're going to countries and we tell (potential clients) if you want to host your server and your data in such an environment you don't have to go all the way to the U.S.," he said.

Operations outside the United States are expected to start next year and the privately held company is confident it has secured financing for ten large data centers, each around 230,000 square feet (21,370 square meters) in size, Bichara said.

Details of the first contracts in two countries would be announced within three months, Bichara said, without elaborating.

Bichara declined to say how much money has been put into the joint venture or how much revenue he expected once it starts operating.

Bichara is a former CEO of Orascom Telecom Holding - now Global Telecom Holding (GTHE.CA) - which is also part of Sawiris' telecoms and investment empire.

Luxembourg-based Orascom TMT Investments is a majority shareholder of Cairo-listed Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT.CA), which lists Sawiris as its executive chairman and Bichara as a non-executive board member.

(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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