Sunday, 23 May 2021

EnterprisePM — Hazem Badran and Tarek Tantawi are launching Valor Capital

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TONIGHT

It’s a M&A-heavy start to the news week, with some of the familiar faces announcing timetables for key transactions down the road.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- Dominating the business news roundup this morning is EFG Hermes CEO Karim Awad’s talk with the press this morning, with major pickups in both the local press and the likes of Reuters. Awad spoke primarily on EFG and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt’s acquisition of the Arab Investment Bank — Egypt’s first bank privatization since 2006 — without revealing much beyond what was already announced last week. We sat down with CEO Karim Awad this morning who gave us more color and detail on the story, which we will run later this week.

Meanwhile, former CI Capital co-CEOs Hazem Badran and Tarek Tantawi are setting up their own PE firm — Valor Capital Partners. Their first transaction is also coming in 3Q2021. We have more details in the Speed Round below.

And while we’re on M&As, companies competing for Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank’s 51.4% stake in Alexandria Medical Services now have until Thursday to make their final offers, the bank said in a letter to the Financial Regulatory Authority (pdf). This came after Cleopatra Hospitals Group (CHG) last week offered to buy shares at EGP 38.53 apiece, which was considerably lower than the average EGP 51.7 per share received by other bids. The lower offer has already prompted one of the other bidders, Nile Misr, to seek a downgrade itself. The other bidders include a consortium of Speed Medical, Saudi’s Tawasol, and Sherif Al Akhdar’s LimeVest and Alexandria for Medical Investment Company (the majority shareholder of Mabaret Al Asafra Hospitals).

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

  • Get ready for regulation, specialized banks: Digital-first banks, and SME lenders will see a new regulatory framework in July under proposed amendments to the newly passed Banking Act.
  • More Sinopharm jabs: Egypt received on Friday another 500k-shot shipment of Sinopharm, China’s other covid-19 vaccine, the Health Ministry said.
  • FAANG tax: Multinational tech firms (including Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Netflix and Apply) would be made to charge VAT on e-commerce sales in Egypt in two phases under amendments to the VAT Act being considered by the government.

Ever Given won’t be released and the ruling on compensation claim postponed to end May: The Ismailia Economic Court rejected an appeal by Ever Given owner Shoei Kisen to overturn a May 4 decision that upheld the seizure of the boat, Al Shorouk reports. The court will also look at a USD 600 mn lawsuit filed by the Suez Canal Authority for damages against the shipowner on 29 May.

HAPPENING NOW- The House of Representatives has given final approval to amendments to the 2015 Electricity Act to delay the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company’s planned split from the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) to 2025 from 2023. Under the changes, state electricity production and distribution companies will also get more time to restructure their operations as the government phases out electricity subsidies over a longer period that it had initially planned. Other bills given the sign off today are:

  • A bill to exempt the Tahya Misr Fund from all taxes and fees.
  • A proposed law to dismiss government employees if they flunk a narc test.
  • An amendment to the criminal code that would give authorities the right to confiscate electronic devices used to carry out cybercrimes.
  • Legislative amendments that will see Egyptian companies pay equal fees when applying for licenses to work on projects abroad. Authorities had previously collected lower fees from companies registered as contractors.
  • A bill to establish an online portal for Egyptians seeking to go on the Umrah pilgrimage.

THE BIG STORY ABROADThe Iran nuclear agreement continues to dominate foreign coverage: Iran will proceed with its nuclear talks with the US despite the expiration of a three-month agreement allowing inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities yesterday, Bloomberg reports. “We will continue talks until a final agreement,” President Hassan Rouhani said, without commenting on the monitoring agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which diplomats expect to be renewed before the new round of talks in Vienna next week.

Meanwhile, Egypt is getting props from the UN Security Council in recognition of its role in mediating the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. It also called for “full adherence” to the ceasefire in Gaza and is urging countries to work with the United Nations to immediately supply a humanitarian aid package to help those affected, according to a statement.

FOR TOMORROW-

The British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) is hosting its Healthcare Virtual Week, with online sessions taking place tomorrow and Wednesday to explore the future of healthcare investment in Egypt as well as ways to digitalize healthcare. Tomorrow’s hour-long session will start at 1pm and you can register here.

BEBA will also hold a virtual conversation with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla on 7 June to discuss the sector’s achievements. You can register through this link.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The El Gouna International Squash Open 2021 is ongoing and runs until Friday. Fans will be allowed to enter the stands, with the first few match days without charge and tickets to be sold for the semis and finals. You can also watch the matches live on PSA Squash YouTube page. The event is supported by our good friends at CIB.

Can’t get enough of Egypt’s favourite racquet sport? The CIB PSA World Tour Finals will run on 22-27 June in Cairo.

Bibliotheca Alexandria is organizing a webinar to discuss safekeeping artifacts and heritage this Thursday. Headlined “Fighting treasure hunting from Africa for the Americas: Protecting the history of the drowning world,” it will feature University of Edinburgh’s Arturo Rey da Silva. You can tune in live at 2:30pm from the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies’ Facebook page.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

One small-step for man, one giant leap for balloon-riding, martini-sipping, UK b’naires: A Virgin Galactic spacecraft completed a successful trip to space yesterday after a series of delays due to technical issues, reports The Financial Times. The VSS Unity reached an altitude of 89.2 kms, launching the company one step closer to offering space tourism in 2022 and competing against Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Richard Branson-founded Virgin Galactic is planning to complete three more test flights before it opens to the masses next year.

Are we turning rhinos into Rocksteady-type mutants to save them? Rhinos are being injected with radioactive material in their horns to discourage illegal poaching under a pilot program backed by Russian energy giant Rosatom, according to Bloomberg. The radioactive material will allow researchers and policy makers to detect and track down illegal trade and studies are currently underway to determine the safe dose of injection. Poachers killed 394 rhinos in South Africa for their horns last year, government data shows.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

Catch performances by the likes of Morgan Freeman and Anne Hathaway in standalone-episode series Solos. The Amazon-produced series explores what it means to be human by touching on the small joyous or heartbreaking moments we’ve all gone through, while also adding a sci-fi touch with depictions of time travel, artificial intelligence bots, illegal memory transplants, and sketchy smart homes. In a combination of Black Mirror-esque plots and deep self-reflection the multiple characters, the seven-episode anthology, the show adds a new perspective on human psychology and how it is evolving steadily alongside technology.

It’s the final matchday of a tumultuous covid-ridden Premier League. Ten matches are taking place at 5pm today to determine the final standings of the 20 teams that competed this season. Manchester City and Manchester United have already snagged the first and second spots respectively, while Chelsea, Liverpool and Leicester are neck-to-neck to snag the third place title. Sheffield United, West Brom, and Fulham have been relegated out of the league regardless of their performance during today’s matches. You can check out today’s game schedule here.

The day’s matches will also determine whether Harry Kane or Mohamed Salah will take home the prestigious Golden Boot award. Both Kane and Salah have two trophies each, making today’s champion the third ever player to snag the Golden Boot three times, writes Premier League.

It’s also the last matchday for Serie A, with Inter Milan snagging the first place title. The rest of the spots will be determined based on today’s 8:45pm matches, but Atalanta, Milan, Napoli, and Juventus hold close enough points that it is expected that they will round out the top five.

The first four teams in each league will head to the Champions League, while the fifth-ranking team will compete in the Europa League.

🍕 EAT THIS TONIGHT-

The Waterway's Ted's Pizzeria is a must-try for pizza lovers. All the quintessential pizza types are well represented on the menu and created with the freshest ingredients and cheeses. The interior of the restaurant makes us feel like we're in Rome while eating our favorite chicken with spinach pizza, while the meat lover's pizza always manages to satisfy our carnivorous desires. Ted's isn't just known for their pizza — their smoothies are a meal alone with how filling they are and their salads are a great way to forgive yourself for eating so much cheese.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

Maadi’s What The Crust is holding an online pizza making class next Friday and Saturday. The two-hour interactive lesson promises to teach “the secrets of making Verace dough” while also giving a history lesson on true Neapolitan pizza and some tips for home baking.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

Make sense of statistics with The Data Detective by Tim Harford. While any book focusing solely on statistics may seem like a yawn to many of you, Harford uses witty anecdotes to illustrate how statistics can mislead as well as examples of serious statistical studies that have changed people’s everyday behavior. Based on scientific research, the book presents ten rules to become more knowledgeable and comfortable with statistics and how to make the most of them to understand a situation and take action. Harford also delves into new areas such as big data and computer algorithms and explains biases and limitations that need to be taken into consideration.

Make sure to check out this review by the IMF, where Chief Statistician Louis Marc Ducharme argues the book’s importance in the covid-19 age to weed out misinformation.

🌤 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- Expect daytime highs of 36°C and nighttime lows of 19°C tomorrow, our favorite weather app tells us.

SPEED ROUND: M&A WATCH

Hazem Badran, Tarek Tantawi set up new PE firm

Former CI Capital co-CEOs Hazem Badran (bio) and Tarek Tantawi (LinkedIn) appear to be setting up a new PE firm, dubbed Valor Capital Partners, Badran tells Hapi Journal in an interview out this morning. The new firm is still being founded and is in early stages, with the principles and final management structure remaining to be established, he added. The announcement comes a few days after the pair announced they are leaving CI Capital following the Taaleem IPO and CI Capital’s acquisition by Banque Misr.

Valor Capital initially aims to raise up to USD 100 mn, Badran says without revealing how many funds they plan to launch or when he expects to reach close on these funds. Saudi and Egyptians investors have already signed on, he noted. We reached out to Badran for more details but he was unable to comment as of dispatch time.

Valor will seek management control: The firm plans to follow the standard private equity model of acquiring majority or minority stakes in target companies with the “intention of having an active role in management,” according to Badran. This would include teaming up with other minority investors should the firm take a minority stake in a company. The firm also plans to establish new ventures.

What will Volar Capital invest in? Investments will initially be focused on the consumer goods, education, health and real estate sectors, with plans to dive into finance at a later stage, Badran said. Valor will be eyeing undervalued companies with promising growth prospects, he notes.

Volar Capital aims to carry out its first transaction in 3Q2021, Badran said. Two more investments are currently being reviewed, with a decision on one of them coming in the next few months, he added.

SPEED ROUND: BUDGET WATCH

Gov’t to slash subsidies doled out to help water companies cover expenses

State water companies will no longer be getting subsidies from the state to cover their spending shortfall starting next fiscal year, according to the FY2021-2022 draft budget (pdf). The final subsidy payment to those companies, some EGP 750 mn, is expected to be received by the end of the ongoing fiscal year, figures from the recently released budget, which is currently under discussion at the House of Representatives, showed.

What are those subsidies for? They’re used by water companies to cover electricity costs, purchase raw materials, and pay for new equipment parts, a government source told El Watan newspaper.

Slashing the annual grants won’t affect subsidies paid out to support household water consumption, the source said without elaborating.

The government is targeting narrowing its budget deficit to 6.7% of GDP in FY2021-2022, from an expected 7.7% by the end of this fiscal year. Subsidy cuts are part of this plan, with fuel subsidy spending expected to drop by nearly EGP 10 bn when the next fiscal year wraps up. Under the draft budget, the fuel cuts will more than offset a slight increase in subsidy spending in other areas including social welfare payments and commodities.

SPEED ROUND: STARTUP WATCH

Flat6Labs’ Egypt fund more than quadruples to EGP 207 mn

Flat6Labs has completed the second close of its Egypt-focused Flat6Labs Accelerator Company (FAC), raising the fund size to EGP 207 mn from EGP 50 mn, according to a press release (pdf). FAC will in turn raise its seed offering for its Cairo Seed Program to up to EGP 1.5 mn, while post-program follow-on funding will now be raised to EGP 3 mn for selected startups.

The funding increase came from FAC’s anchor investors, which include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the MSME Development Agency (MSMEDA) , the Egyptian American Enterprise Fund, and Egypt Ventures, with Sawari Ventures being the most recent addition. “We are very excited to expand our partnership with Flat6Labs and increase our commitment to up to USD 2.5 mn,” said Walid Labadi, IFC’s country manager for Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. MSMEDA also raised their to EGP 35 mn, Hany Emad, Head of Central Sector for SME Finance at MSMEDA, added

GO WITH THE FLOW

Fawry sees bottom line surge in 1Q2021

The EGX30 rose 0.75% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.29 bn (2.2% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 0.35% YTD.

In the green: ElSewedy Electric (+4.8%), Heliopolis Housing (+3.3%) and Sodic (+1.9%).

In the red: Edita (-3.7%), Oriental Weavers (-1.9%) and Abu Qir Fertilizers (-1.4%).

EARNINGS WATCH- Payments giant Fawry’s bottom line soared 146% y-o-y to EGP 76.1 mn in 1Q2021, up from EGP 31 mn in the same quarter last year, the company said in its earnings release (pdf). Revenues rose 35% to EGP 349 mn from EGP 258 mn in 1Q2020. “Fawry has made an impressive start to 2021 … [as the] diversification of the Company’s revenue base continues apace, led by our Banking Services segment, which saw its revenues grow more than twofold [in 1Q2021],” CEO Ashraf Sabry said. All the company’s business segments expanded during the quarter, backing its continued “strong top-line growth,” the earnings release reads.

Looking ahead: “We aim to expand the Fawry ecosystem’s operational reach and are open to all avenues including organic growth and the acquisition of minority stakes in one or more consumer-facing target companies,” Sabry said. The plan will involve offering new “tailored solutions designed for players in the food & beverage and social commerce digital platforms” to build on the company’s success in the “retail and gig economy sectors,” he added.

MARKET NEWS- Sodic shareholders are entitled to coupon payments of EGP 0.55 per share. They can be claimed through clearing house MCDR, which has branches in most major banks operating in Egypt, starting 9 June, for existing shareholders or those buying new shares before the end of the trading day on 6 June 2020, according to an EGX filing (pdf).

MACRO PICTURE

Sovereign Wealth Funds doubled their investments last year with a focus on domestic economic support

With an eye on local development, sovereign wealth funds nearly doubled their investments in 2020: Sovereign wealth funds’ direct investments last year grew to USD 65.9 bn, from USD 35.9 bn in 2019, the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds said in its annual review. Supporting local industries and domestic development agendas throughout the pandemic was a key feature of funds’ 2020 investments, with funds deploying an estimated 22% of all capital towards direct investments in their local markets over the course of the year.

Tech, e-commerce, and ESG had their day in the sun: Investment in digitalization and climate friendly initiatives has also accelerated this year, with a continued interest in e-commerce renewables comprising some USD 11.5 bn last year. E-commerce related industries, including companies involved in logistics and warehouse management, locked down USD 9 bn in investments from SWFs last year, amid expectations that some degree of remote work and learning will be a mainstay of our post-covid life. The funds also ramped up investments in climate change-related sectors like agritech, forestry and renewable energy, pushing out USD 2.45 bn in 23 green investments — a 118% y-o-y jump from USD 1.1 in 2019.

In some cases, SWFs were called on for direct fiscal support to governments: Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global — the world’s largest SWF — contributed some USD 37 bn (or 3% of the fund’s capital) to cushion the strain on state coffers, as pandemic spending dramatically rose over 2020. In Chile, the country’s finance ministry withdrew USD 1.1 bn from the Economic and Social Stabilization Fund to service its external debt, in addition to a seperate USD 2 bn withdrawal to support collapsing commodity prices.

Others have stepped in to recuperate domestic industry: Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund worked in coordination with the Irish government in its response to the pandemic, committing some USD 2.4 bn to the country’s Pandemic Stabilization and Recovery Fund and allocating 90% of its direct and indirect investments to businesses hard hit by the pandemic. Singapore’s Temasek Holdings also focused heavily on supporting local safety protocols and participated in the revival of national air carrier, Singapore Airlines, through a USD 2 bn rights issuance.

And then there’s Russia’s SWF, whose investment led to the Sputnik V jab: The Russian Direct Investment Fund, meanwhile, invested heavily last year in directly confronting the spread of the virus by ramping up spending on covid-19 diagnostics systems and antiviral drug production before ultimately financing the production of the Sputnik V vaccine.

The Sovereign Fund of Egypt has also signaled it will shift its investment priorities to adjust to the pandemic reality: The SFE last year said it will focus on healthcare, pharma storage, electricity, agriculture, and other sectors that were deemed crucial to support at the onset of the pandemic. Sub-funds, established by the SFE in the form of private equity vehicles, have been created to focus on investments in specific industries like healthcare, infrastructure, fintech, and real estate. Last year has also been a boon for African SWFs that have expanded their investments at home in areas such as health, digital tech and agribusiness.

Despite a more domestic-oriented strategy dominating SWF investments last year, that’s not where everyone has been focused: Saudi Arabia’s PIF has spent more than USD 10 bn snapping up shares in US and European blue-chip companies last year at historic lows as interest in travel, entertainment and energy plummeted. Low prices in 1H2020 have attracted some SWFs to invest proportionally more in equities than in real estate and infrastructure, which increased y-o-y, but follows a downward trend over the long term.

CALENDAR

20-28 May (Thursday-Friday): Gouna International Squash Open 2021.

24-26 May (Monday-Wednesday): British Egyptian Business Association virtual healthcare week. Registration is open for Monday’s and Wednesday’s session.

26 May (Wednesday): Final day for Africa-based startups to apply for the French government-sponsored AFD Digital Challenge (pdf).

27-29 May (Thursday-Saturday): Informa Markets’ Nextmove real estate exhibition, Cairo International Convention Center, Nasr City.

30 May (Sunday): Al Mal GTM is organizing the Portfolio Egypt conference under the theme ‘Growth under the weight of the pandemic.’

31 May (Monday): Egypt is hosting Trescon Global’s World AI Show with the support of ITIDA.

7 June (Monday): British Egyptian Business Association hosts an event featuring Oil Minister Tarek El Molla. You can register through this link.

14 June (Monday): The third edition of Egypt's Green Economy Forum.

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

17-20 June (Thursday-Sunday) : The International Exhibition of Materials and Technologies for Finishing and Construction (Turnkey Expo), Cairo International Conference Center.

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

24 June (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year (public schools).

26-29 June (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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: National Book Fair.

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

15 June (Saturday): EGX-listed will have to complete filing their financial disclosures for the period ended 31 March.

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

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

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

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.

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): 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.

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

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

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

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

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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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