Sunday, 27 June 2021

EnterprisePM — Debt markets could get a boost in the next three months with new sukuks and green bond issuances coming.



A whole lot of debt: We start the week, ladies and gentlemen, with a number of major debt related news, with today’s top headlines telling us that things will bode well for our debt markets.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- We start with Contact Financial Holding, which is planning to issue sukuk worth EGP 2.5-3 bn in 3Q2021. The announcement, and those of others the company is quarterbacking, is hoped will breathe life into an anaemic sukuk market that was expected to do big things this year.

We could also expect to see Egypt’s second green bond issuance as early as next month, according to statements in the local press by Financial Regulatory Authority Deputy Chairman Islam Azzam. We cover both stories in greater detail in the Speed Round below.

Are listed companies about to start ESG reporting? Azzam had suggested to the local press that the FRA could soon require companies listed on the EGX, as well as non-banking financial institutions under its purview, to begin making ESG disclosures. ESG reporting requires companies to make regulatory filings with data on how their operations line up with environmental, social and corporate governance principles.

** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • ADQ moves forward with EGP 10 bn bid for Amoun Pharma: A subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund ADQ is seeking FRA approval to launch an MTO for up to 100% of Amoun Pharma and is looking to offer EGP 37.8 per share through its subsidiary Ultra Welfare.
  • Egypt was the Arab world’s second-most attractive FDI destination in 2020: Egypt received USD 5.9 bn in foreign direct investment in 2020, accounting for 14.5% of the USD 40.5 bn invested in the region that year, coming second to the UAE, which received USD 19.9 bn.
  • Egypt received 210k doses of Sputnik V on Thursday: This comes under an agreement with Russia to deliver 10 mn doses of the jab.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is in Baghdad, in the first visit of an Egyptian president to the Iraqi capital in 30 years, according to an Ittihadiya statement. El Sisi sat down with his counterpart, Barham Salih, who called on Egypt to support Iraq in development projects and aid the country’s bid toward economic reform. Salih also suggested increased cooperation in education, culture, and religion, with the duo stressing the importance of strategic cooperation amid the covid-19 pandemic, and as disputes arise in the region.

El Sisi joined Salih and Jordan’s King Abdullah for a tripartite summit, according to a separate statement. The three leaders looked into boosting economic, security, and trade ties as well counter Iran’s growing influence in the region. Reuters and The National have both taken note of the summit.

El Sisi’s visit seemingly comes within the framework of Egypt’s continued push for infrastructure diplomacy. The latest display of this policy — through which the government aims to get local companies to help rebuild vital infrastructure in conflict-ridden regional countries such as Iraq — was an agreement signed last week to boost digital infrastructure cooperation with the latter country.


AmCham is featuring Oil Minister Tarek El Molla tomorrow in their virtual monthly event from 3-4pm. The minister will discuss how the oil sector has transformed in the past years, and is contributing to fueling the Egyptian economy.


There are two all-Egyptian finals at the 2020-2021 CIB PSA World Tour Finals today. Nouran Gohar — who knocked out reigning champion Nour El Sherbini in the quarters — booked her place in the final by defeating Australia’s Joelle King yesterday. She will play world no.2 Hania El Hammamy, who defeated France’s Camille Serme. In the men’s draw, surprise finalist Mostafa Asal will meet fifth seed Mohamed El Shorbagy in the final. Asal knocked out world no.1 Ali Farag in the quarters and second seed Tarek Momen in the semi, while El Shorbagy beat New Zealand’s Paul Coll yesterday to secure his place in the final.

It’s the second day of the Big 5 Construct Egypt at the Cairo International Convention Center.

The Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) MENA are holding a webinar titled Energy Efficiency in the MENA region: Status and Outlook on 6 July at 3:30pm. The session will focus on energy efficiency developments and provide recommendations for businesses and policymakers. Later on next month, CEBC will also host the webinar Women Entrepreneurs in Clean Energy on 21 July at 3pm in cooperation with the initiative, Women in Clean Energy MENA and Canada’s WiRE (Women in Renewable Energy).

The British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) is organizing a virtual education week from 5-6 July with three seminars planned. The first, taking place at 10am on 5 July, will discuss skills-based learning while the future of investment in education will be the topic on the table at 12:30pm the same day. On 6 July, a talk on the digitalization of education in Egypt will be held at 12pm.


Dubai is cashing in on the USD 1 tn global events industry, greenlighting the way for Wall Street execs and jet setters to attend high-profile events amid fewer travel restrictions, writes Bloomberg. The financial capital of the Middle East is hosting one of the biggest gas conferences and an African investor summit this year, as well as multiple cricket events, including the T20 World Cup. Dubai has long been a flocking ground for conferences and events, which in 2019 accounted for 3% of Dubai’s USD 112 bn economy. The challenge now posed is whether the Emirate can control covid-19 cases while attracting attendees amidst changing global travel requirements and quarantine rules.


How the modern music scene came to be: Netflix’s new docuseries This Is Pop provides an overview of pop music across the decades and continents by looking at the impact of everything from auto tune to the festival scene and boy bands. Each of the eight episodes concerns itself with a facet of pop music and brings in musicians to discuss that specific facet: Boyz II Men are brought in to talk about the wave of boy bands, T Pain looks at auto tune, Hozier discusses protest music, Oasis talk about the UK music scene, and more. “This Is Pop doesn’t set out to present a unified theory of a musical genre as much as it tries to highlight significant brushstrokes in the overall painting,” writes Indie Wire.

Today in Euro 2020: The Netherlands is playing against the Czech Republic at 6pm with the victor going up against Denmark in the quarter finals, after the Nordic country beat Wales 4-0 in an epic match yesterday. Meanwhile, Belgium and Portugal are up at 9pm and whoever gains the lead will play against Italy who defeated Austria 2-1.


Head to Maadi’s Bua Khao for some of the best thai food you’ll ever get. The restaurant is run by a Thai family living in Cairo and they’ve tapped Thai chefs to ensure that every dish on the menu is true to its origins. Bua Khao’s specialty is undoubtedly their range of yellow, red, and green curry which you can have with chicken, duck, shrimp, or beef. If you work in Maadi, it’s a great place to order from during the office lunch hour. Not to be missed is their wonton soup, especially if you’re a fan of garlic and shrimp, as well as their coconut-infused Tom Kha Gai soup, and their delectable Pad Thai. From their appetizers to their main courses, you really can’t go wrong with anything you decide to feast on… trust us.


Get a scent customized to your personality at an exhibit by Frederik Duerinck called Algorithmic Perfumery. The Cairotronica organized event is taking place at AUC Tahrir Cultural Center until 5 July.

El Sawy Culturewheel has a rock festival going on tomorrow, featuring local bands Tafaqum, Rocksea and Kato Hafiz from 6-10pm.


The minutiae of Cairo explored: Max Rodenbeck — the previous Middle East bureau chief for The Economist — spent years working and living in Cairo, which he describes as ‘one of the most ancient, colorful, and multifaceted of cities.’ Cairo: The City Victorious is Rodenbeck’s exploration of Cairo’s rich history and dusty, chaotic, but beautiful present. The capital city of Egypt has long been a bustling metropolis that has managed to redefine itself time and time again under different regimes, ideologies, and stages of urban development. First published in 1998, the scope of this book will miss out on much of how new ring road flyaways, gated communities, and satellite cities that have altered life in the capital, but captures much of the city’s indomitable spirit which has endured through the ages and earned its its moniker of “the victorious.”

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- It’s going to be a hot one… The mercury is rising to 42°C tomorrow during the day before falling to 24°C at night, according to our favorite weather app.


Contact to issue EGP 2.5-3 bn sukuk in 3Q2021

Contact Financial Holding, formerly Sarwa Capital Holding, will issue sukuk worth EGP 2.5-3 bn in 3Q2021 in a bid to finance the activities of its subsidiaries, unnamed source at the company told Enterprise, confirming statements by CEO Saeed Zaatar to local press. The company provided no further details on the plan. This will be the second sale after the company closed a EGP 2.5 bn record issuance of sukuk last year.

This won’t be the only sukuk sale this year: Besides its own plan to sell sukuk, Contact is working with others, primarily real estate developers, to manage their sale of EGP 5-7.5 bn worth of the sharia-compliant bonds through its sukuk advisory arm, the source noted, without specifying a timeline. Contact was previously said to be quarterbacking at least three sukuk issuances worth some EGP 10 bn and expected to hit the market this year.

What to expect: The planned sales include a EGP 5.5 bn offering for Palm Hills Development, a EGP 3 bn sale for Hassan Allam Properties, and a EGP 1.1 bn offering for Amer Group. Later in June, Wadi Degla Developments announced plans for a sukuk issuance worth nearly EGP 2 bn to be managed by Contact Financial.

Contact isn’t the only lead manager: It’s in a “strategic alliance” with state-owned Banque Misr investment arm Misr Capital to work together exclusively on sukuk issuances under a mandate from the government, CFO Ayman El Sawy told us earlier this month.

Some were hoping for a blockbuster year for sukuk … : Some EGP 5.1 bn of the sharia-compliant securities were issued last year, leading to a number of bold forecasts for 2021. Several market experts have predicted that EGP 20-25 bn of sukuk could be issued this year, a fivefold increase on 2020.

… But it didn't quite happen, yet: No sukuk sales took place this year. So far, only three companies have issued sukuk since the Financial Regulatory Authority put in place the regulatory framework in 2019: Talaat Moustafa Group in April 2020, Contact (back when it was called Sarwa) in November 2020 and private education outfit Cira in December of the same year.

IN OTHER COMPANY NEWS- Contact is one step closer to launching an e-payment unit: Contact has completed all procedures to set up a 99.9% owned e-payments company, dubbed Contact E-payment Solutions, the source at the company said, confirming a separate press report. State-owned Banque Misr will collect and settle the new company’s payments, under an agreement signed between both companies, according to the source. The entity’s services will be available through POS and will be plugged into the company’s digital platforms, the source noted. The new entity will also have a dedicated app for the payments of utility bills.


Egypt’s first local green bond sale approaches

The first local green bonds sale could go ahead in as little as two to three weeks, Financial Regulatory Authority Deputy Chairman Islam Azzam was quoted as saying by Al Mal, though he did not name the issuer. The USD 100 mn sale — expected to be the country’s first green bond issuance since the USD 750 mn sale by the government last year — is still pending “a few final procedures,” Azzam said, without giving further details. We reached out to Azzam and other FRA representatives, but none of them were available to comment as of dispatch time.

As far as we know, Egypt’s largest private sector bank CIB is the only party with a green bond issuance in its pipeline. The sale was previously expected to take place in October 2020, back when the bank’s head of debt capital markets Heba Abdellatif told us that due diligence was in its final stages. CIB was previously courting the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the inaugural sale. The IFC was looking to invest USD 65 mn in the first tranche of what were said to be five-year bonds, and potentially planned to bring its investment up to USD 100 mn in another tranche. CIB declined to comment on Azzam’s statements.

Egypt’s last green bond issuance was well-received by the market: The Finance Ministry took the country’s maiden USD 750 mn sovereign green bonds to market last September. The issuance was almost 5x oversubscribed, attracting some USD 3.7 bn worth of orders. Minister Mohamed Maait said this month that a second issuance is in the cards during the state’s upcoming fiscal year, which starts on 1 July, but that the matter was not yet settled.

What are green bonds? A green bond is a type of fixed-income instrument that is specifically earmarked to raise money for climate and environmental projects. The World Bank was the first organization to offer green bonds in 2008 and has since issued over USD 13 bn worth through more than 150 transactions in 20 currencies. Green bonds were introduced following changes in 2018 to the Capital Markets Act which also opened the door for other new financial instruments including Islamic sukuk, short selling, and a futures and commodities exchange.


73% of Egypt’s SMEs are confident in growth over the coming year- Mastercard

73% of small and medium businesses in Egypt are confident that their business will do well over the coming year, according to Mastercard’s inaugural MEA SME Confidence Index. 85% of businesses surveyed said they believed their revenues would grow or hold steady over the coming 12 months, with 68% projecting an increase.

But 43% said they remained concerned over challenges to growing their business: Half of respondents said the rising cost of doing business was the main thing on their mind, while 46% said getting access to capital was their top concern.

What do these companies need to grow? 47% want better access to training and development, 45% said they needed better data and insights, while others said expanding their acceptance of digital payments would be what would kick start their business growth.

SMEs really want to get involved in partnerships: 57% said private sector partnerships had the biggest potential to positively impact their business, while 52% said they could benefit from government-led initiatives.

Across the region, 81% of respondents on average expressed optimism in their growth prospects over the next year. Of the approximately 100 businesses surveyed in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, SME’s in the UAE were the most optimistic, with 88% saying they were hopeful about the coming year. In Saudi Arabia, 83% said they were confident in future growth.


Minly closes USD 3.6 mn seed round, eyes regional expansion

Customized celeb video platform Minly closed a USD 3.6 mn seed round co-led by 4DX Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners, and Global Ventures, according to a press release (pdf). The oversubscribed round also included regional funds and a number of angel investors. Minly was launched in 2020 and allows fans to request personalized videos from celebrities, influencers, or musicians for a price — similar to the US’s Cameo. Minly now has a diverse roster of talents that include Tamer Hosny, Hazem Imam, and Sawsan Badr. The funding will be used to scale across the region and introduce a suite of new products, said co-founder Mohamed El Shinnawy.


Go with the flow on 27 June

The EGX30 rose 0.3% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.25 bn (1.3% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 5.0% YTD.

In the green: Palm Hills Development (+2.8%), Ibnsina Pharma (+2.2%) and TMG Holding (+2.0%).

In the red: Qalaa Holdings (-2.6%), AMOC (-2.4%) and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (-1.3%).


Poor, poor millennials

The common belief that millennials are doing worse than previous generations may not be true after all … At least, that’s what Allison Schrager argues in a Bloomberg Opinion piece. Instead of looking at the hypothesis in purely quantitative terms, you should also look at how things match up in the much-changed world, she says. While statistically speaking millennials — who are generally defined as the generation born between 1981 and 1996 — are less likely to own homes than their parents' generation, they may have just invested their time and money differently. Taking into account a more expansive definition of wealth, perhaps millennials are not exactly the downtrodden underdogs meme culture insists they are.

The first thing to consider is education. While millennials are in twice as much debt as their parents were at the same age, most of the debt comes from student loans, indicating that they have invested more into education for their future, and therefore higher paying jobs. While millennials are less likely to own a home, that is also because these well-educated young people tend to live in large urban areas, where the higher paying jobs are. “If you live somewhere you can’t afford to buy a home, it might be because you live somewhere that puts your career on a fast track,” Schrager writes.

Is it because millennials have more stability? *scoffs*: Another argument Schrager poses is that millennials tend to change jobs less frequently than previous generations. The stable, predictable income is more valuable than the riskier, if higher, wages our grandparents used to get by jumping from job to job. It also explains why millennials are slower at getting promotions and raises, as these increases are partly driven by moving around. Adding to this stability is the abundance of retirement plans at work, which were harder to come by for boomers in the workplace. However, her assumption might not be correct, as a Gallup report actually found that millennials are the generation most likely to switch jobs.

While we appreciate the optimism, we’re not sold just yet: The statistics only fuel our doubts, with millennials controlling just 4.6% of US wealth, despite making up the largest portion of the workforce. Meanwhile, baby boomers hold 53% of the country’s wealth, Gen X 25%, and the silent generation 17, according to CNBC. Maybe you’d like to play devil’s advocate and say that the numbers make sense, as older generations have had more time to fill their bank accounts. But in 1989, when baby boomers were the same age as millennials today, they held 21% of the US’ wealth, almost five times as much.

Surveys conducted in the MENA region indicate a similar problem: While there aren’t similar statistics to quantify the wealth gap in Egypt, a regional survey by Ipsos gives a snapshot of millennials' concerns. Dubbing them an “anxious generation,” the survey found that 61% of millennials feel that it was easier for older generations to make money. Meanwhile, 41% feel overwhelmed by financial burdens and 14% are in debt. When asked how optimistic they are for the future, Egyptian millennials came in last at 37% compared to the 73% in Saudi who said they were excited for the future. The pessimism was attributed to concerns over the political, social, and economic environment in the country.

We don’t mean to be morbid… Increased life expectancy worldwide could also be playing a factor in millennials' poverty. Inheritance of assets is an easy and quick way to redistribute wealth among generations. However, with advances in healthcare and fewer wars, many millennials haven’t inherited wealth from their parents or grandparents just yet. Visual Capitalist charts the wealth gap between generations in the US and notes that millennials are expected to inherit USD 68 tn from baby boomer parents by 2030.

And covid-19 is dividing the generation into ‘the millennial rich’ and ‘the millennial poor’: Following the 2008 financial crisis and political unrest over the past decade, the pandemic is the latest in a string of setbacks to befall millennials’ wealth potential. The intergenerational socioeconomic gap is reflected in the K-shaped recovery the US has been experiencing, in which the wealthy are bouncing back and the lower-earning are staying down, according to Business Insider. Generational researcher Jason Dorsey has categorized the generation into the “me-llennials” who feel financially and professionally behind and “mega-llennials” who are financially sound. The pandemic has further exacerbated the high income inequality as many grapple with issues such as unemployment, and increased childcare costs in an economy that doesn’t always support them.

But Gen Z has learned from their predecessors’ mistakes: Bank of America estimates that Gen Z will have a higher income than millennials by 2031 and will be the “most disruptive generation ever” to economies, markets and social systems, according to CNBC. The bank defines the generation as those born between 1996 and 2016. Gen Z are more tech savvy than millennials and understand the benefit of going into career paths that have proved resilient in times of crisis. They will also likely be quick beneficiaries of “The Great Wealth Transfer” from older cohorts. As they go into the workforce, Gen Z’s income is expected to increase fivefold by 2030 to USD 33 tn, accounting for over a quarter of global income.


22-27 June (Tuesday-Sunday): The CIB PSA World Tour Finals for 2020-2021 will take place in Cairo.

26-29 June (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo, Egypt. The Big 5 Egypt Impact Awards will also be taking place at the event on 27 June.

28 June (Monday): AmCham is featuring Oil Minister Tarek El Molla in their virtual monthly event from 3-4pm.

29 June (Tuesday): The London School of Economics (LSE) discussion “Policy Reform in the Making: Stakeholder Engagement through Economic Diplomacy” from 3pm-4:15pm. You can register through this link.

30 June (Wednesday): The IMF will complete a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

30 June (Wednesday): 30 June Revolution Day.

30 June- 15 July: The Cairo International Book Fair, Egypt International Exhibition Center.

July + August: Thanaweya Amma exams take place.

1 July: (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 30 June Revolution.

1 July (Thursday): Large taxpayers that have not yet signed on to the e-invoicing platform will suffer a host of penalties, including removal from large taxpayer classification, losing access to government services and business, and losing subsidies.

1 July (Thursday): Deadline for 17 EGX-listed companies to file their 1Q2021 earnings.

1-10 July (Thursday-Saturday): The government’s fuel pricing committee will meet to announce 3Q prices.

4 July (Sunday): Ismailia Economic Court to hold hearing on Ever Given compensation case.

Mid-July: Legislative session expected to end.

19 July (Monday): Arafat Day (national holiday).

20-23 July (Tuesday-Friday): Eid Al Adha (national holiday).

23 July (Friday): Revolution Day (national holiday).

23 July-11 August (Friday-Wednesday): Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

2-4 August (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt is hosting the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

5 August (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

12 August (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Islamic New Year.

12-15 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo: the 33rd International Agricultural Exhibition for Africa and the Middle East.

15 September (Wednesday): The CFO Leadership & Strategy Summit is taking place in Egypt.

16 September (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

30 September-2 October (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects 2021 expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 September-8 October (Thursday-Friday): The Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1 October (Friday): Businesses importing goods at seaports will need to file shipping documents and cargo data digitally to the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

7 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Armed Forces Day.

12-14 October (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday.

21 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday.

24-28 October (Sunday-Thursday) Cairo Water Week, Cairo, Egypt.

27-28 October (Wednesday-Thursday) Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference, Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski, Cairo, Egypt.

28 October (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

30 October – 4 November (Saturday-Thursday): The first edition of Race The Legends, Egypt.

1-3 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Energy exhibition on power and renewable energy, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

November: Egypt will host another round of talks to reach a potential Egyptian-Eurasian trade agreement, which can significantly contribute to increasing the volume of Egyptian exports to the Russia-led bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

1-12 November (Monday-Friday): 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Glasgow, United Kingdom.

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo.

12-14 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Food Africa Cairo trade exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

13-17 December: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

16 December (Thursday): The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet to review interest rates.

14-16 February 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

1H2022: The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

27 June-3 July 2022 (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

**Note to readers: Some national holidays may appear twice above. Since 2020, Egypt has observed most mid-week holidays on Thursdays regardless of the day on which they fall and may also move those days to Sundays. We distinguish below between the actual holiday and its observance.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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