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Watani’s week of reckoning

Youssef Sidhom

10 May 2015 1:01 am

For the first time since Watani was founded in 1958 and since Watani Corporation for Printing and Publishing was established in 1994 as an Egyptian public stock company that issues Watani newspaper, shareholders were invited for an extraordinary general assembly to vote on whether the corporation should keep up its activity or should be dissolved. The vote is required by the Egyptian law and the corporation’s basic bylaws once the losses incurred by the corporation exceed half its capital.

Such a situation may be ‘all in a day’s work’ for investors and businessmen when dissolving or liquidating a losing business is the wiser decision. This stands true in case of companies that deal in industrial or commercial activity or in consumer services. However, when the corporation in question is active in media work that undertakes a national enlightenment mission, the measures are different; the matter requires prudent endeavour to save the business and empower it to carry on with its mission.

Expressing deep appreciation of the role and mission Watani is undertaking in the media field, the shareholders who took part in Watani’s recent general assembly were unanimously against dissolving the corporation. They said they understood the causes for the pile-up of losses so that, over the last three years, they exceeded half the capital. These transient causes relate mainly to a decline in advertising as a consequence of the economic downturn in post-Arab Spring Egypt; revenue from advertisements is the mainstay of the finances of any media corporation. A positive indication, however, was the fact that Watani’s losses in 2014 were 25 per cent less than its losses in 2013. The shareholders expressed confidence that the corporation would phase out its losses over the coming two years, and thus unanimously voted for the business to keep going.

Many Watani readers and friends had been gripped with worry once the invitation for the extraordinary general assembly was announced. Several called us to express concern at the possibility of discontinuing the 57-year-old mission of the paper. Watani’s editorial family held its breath as it considered the consequences of dissolving the corporation. The final result, however, put an end to the worries and promised a confident future.

The general assembly elected a new board of directors to run the corporation over the coming three years (2015 – 2018). The composition of the new board is again cause for optimism and confidence in the future, since the number of promising young people form a majority among its ranks. Following is a list of the names of the new board’s eleven members, arranged alphabetically according to surname:

• Maryse Adly Abdel-Baqi
• Adel Atef Azmy
• Victor Salama Guirguis
• Maged Halim Nashed
• Mounir Azmy Rizkallah
• Hani Adel Seif
• Dina Youssef Sidhom
• Samia Antoun Sidhom
• Youssef Antoun Sidhom
• Amir Fouad Surial
• Makary Armanious Surour
Now that the critical week has ended on a positive note, Watani carries on as it looks forward to the support of its readers and friends, those who firmly believe in its mission.

Watani International
10 May 2015


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