East Meets West

RAPHAEL GAILLARDE FOR TIME

ONLY CONNECT: Sawiris is plotting his multibillion-euro takeover from his Paris office

Naguib Sawiris likes to think of himself as the Middle East's answer to Richard Branson. Last year the Egyptian entrepreneur started operating what is so far Iraq's only mobile-phone network. After just six months, his company, Orascom Telecom, already has more than half a million subscribers there, earning it $95 million before taxes and interest. Like Branson, Sawiris is a music lover — he calls himself a "party animal" — and has a taste for risky ventures. To date, six Orascom engineers and technicians have been kidnapped in Iraq and two of its sites have been shot at. "I didn't sleep...