Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Remittances and corporate earnings look to be on the upswing



Good morning, friends — we hope hump day has been kind to you. The news day has been reasonably kind to us all, as what little news there is to report is just about entirely “good.”

REASON TO SMILE as the workday comes to an end: Remittances from Egyptians living aborad are up — and so are corporate earnings, with Elsewedy being the latest to report strong numbers, with the perennial dividend payer reporting a more than 70% rise in net income to just under EGP 1 bn.

HAPPENING NOW- New Zealand is locking down the entire country — over a single case of covid, CNN reports.

IN OTHER COVID NEWS- The Biden administration is expected to start giving out coronavirus booster shots as soon as September, recommending the boosters to “most” Americans eight months after they were first vaccinated, the New York Times reports. The news comes as the US, Canada and Western Europe remain under pressure for “hoarding” vaccines at the same time as developing economies may not make a significant dent in their vaccination targets before 2023. It’s still unclear what the booster shot news means to Biden’s pledge to donate 500 mn doses of vaccines. Bloomberg reported that Biden’s administration is sending more than 488k doses of Pfizer’s jab to Rwanda.

STILL FEEL LIKE TRAVELING? EgyptAir passengers can now bid online to upgrade from to business class economy with the national flag carrier’s e-upgrade service, according to a company statement. The service, which allows customers to bid for an upgrade between 10 days and 48 hours before take-off, has been made available for EgyptAir flights to and from Dubai, London and Milan in a first phase.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD? It’s all Afghanistan, all the time. The latest:

The Feminist Emirate of Afghanistan? Not quite, but at least women will be allowed to have a job — under certain conditions. Bloomberg quotes a Taliban official as saying that the nascent Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will allow women to work “where they so choose.” A separate official earlier told the Associated Press that the group “doesn’t want the women to be the victims anymore,” and said women would be allowed to work, earn a living and join the government, provided they adhere to (the Taliban’s interpretation of) Islamic law. The Taliban’s takeover of the country has provoked fears for the rights of Afghani women, who were largely confined to their houses under hardline rules enforced by the group prior to its removal from power in 2001.

The latest from the Great Capitalist Smackdown in China: Beijing is banning internet platforms from a range of behavior “deemed to harm market competition.” Analysts expect the crackdown to zero in on “false advertising, fraudulent online reviews, unfair competition, interoperability issues, data protection and consumer privacy issues,” the Financial Times reports. Reuters adds that another set of forthcoming regulations will aim to protect “critical information infrastructure.”

PSA- Google will fund 7k scholarships for MENA job seekers in cooperation with local organizations, according to an emailed press release (pdf). Here in Egypt, that includes the Egyptian Banking Institution and the University Center for Career Development. The tech giant said it will fund online certificates in IT support, project management, UX design and data analytics, all of them offered through Coursera. You can apply here and get more information here. Google is also offering new courses via its digital skills training program, “Maharat mn Google,” which pushes the adoption of Google services. The number of slots that would go to Egyptian applicants will largely be a function of how many people from here apply, a company representative suggested.

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

  • Being on the UK’s “red list” costs a lot: We could be losing as much as EGP 31 mn per day as long as we remain on the UK’s red list for international travel, which has all but closed Egypt to British tourists.
  • Y’all need a PCR test to come to Egypt: ID Now rapid covid tests alone are not accepted, and are used alongside PCR tests for people coming from countries where variants have been identified.
  • QNB lands European loan to finance green projects: QNB Al Ahli will receive a USD 50 mn loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Green Climate Fund, and the EU to help Egypt transition into a green economy.


Appearing over and over on our social media feeds: ​​The delta variant and beyond: Learning to live with covid, by former CDC director Tom Frieden for the Wall Street Journal. With much of the world set to remain unvaccinated until 2023, Frieden’s piece is real “thought leadership” (dear God, how we’ve come to loathe that term) on everything from vaccine hesitancy to what schools, corporations and we as individuals might do to move on with life as we battle what will likely be recurrent flareups of covid-19 for years to come.

FOR FINANCE NERDS- If you’re at all on the fence about going back to the office next month, read this piece: My years on Wall Street showed me why you can’t make a [transaction] on Zoom, says investment banker turned author William D. Cohan. We know, we know: AI can do a junior banker’s job. And there’s no excuse for the despicable working conditions most analysts suffer through. But Cohan has it right: Finance is an apprenticeship, and you learn far more face-to-face than you will ever pick up remotely — particularly if you want to move into more senior gigs where human intelligence, creativity and empathy matter.

No, your metabolism isn’t “slowing down” in middle age. Not enough to make you gain serious weight, at least — your diet and changes in hormone balance in your body (particularly during middle age, and even more so for women) have a heck of a lot more to do with it. “Everyone knows conventional wisdom about metabolism: People put pounds on year after year from their 20s onward because their metabolisms slow down, especially around middle age. Women have slower metabolisms than men. That’s why they have a harder time controlling their weight. Menopause only makes things worse, slowing women’s metabolisms even more.” That was the conventional wisdom up until last week, when a new paper in Science stood it all on its head.

Instead, humans likely have four “phases” of metabolism through which they pass from cradle to grave: Your metabolism races from birth through age one, slows about 3% per year from ages 1 through 20, then holds largely steady until your 60s, after which it slows again — but much more slowly than it did in your teenage years. Read all about it in the New York Times or dive deeper in Daily energy expenditure through the human life course

Oil is heading towards its longest losing streak since March as it fell for the fourth consecutive day. Analysts pin the dip on fears that the spread of the delta variant could impact demand in major economies — and oil producing countries agreed to increase production. “Signals point to a recovery. Demand is likely to rebound unless these new virus variants result in massive lockdowns,” one analyst told Bloomberg.

Tesla’s partially automated driving system is under formal investigation in the US after a string of crashes. The US auto safety regulator is examining 765k vehicles — almost everything that Tesla has sold in the US since the 2014 model year onward — which feature Tesla’s Autopilot, a system that automatically steers, brakes and accelerates the vehicle on most roads with lanes, the Wall Street Journal reports. The investigation could potentially lead to a mass recall, following a recall earlier this year of 135k Model S and Model X vehicles due to touch screen errors.

EV startups are trying to find cheaper ways to mass production: To overcome the challenges that Tesla previously faced, UK van company Arrival is seeking to build EV “microfactories” with less expensive equipment, Reuters reports. Big automotive companies usually spend USD 2 bn on a big factory with a capacity to manufacture up to 240k cars a year. However, Arrival’s microfactories are worth only USD 50 mn, and can hold 10k cars. The company had originally raised more than tenfold of that amount to build two plants. Another option could see companies outsourcing manufacturing to cut fixed costs.

(all times CLT)

French footballer Nicolas Anelka has a controversial legacy that is explored in Netflix’s Anelka: Misunderstood. Anelka is the kind of player who was always on your radar if you cared about football during the 2000s, hopping from one team to the next often over major disagreements with the coaches. Despite his bad boy ways, Anelka kept getting signed by names including Arsenal, Manchester City, PSG, and Liverpool as his scoring record kept coaches willing to subject themselves to his troublesome ways. The first half of the movie is a well structured self-portrait of Anelka the player and Anelka the man, while the second half is director Eric Hannezo’s efforts to show how he is truly “misunderstood” — a sentiment we didn’t always agree with.

Al Ahly and Zamalek are both in action in a busy evening in the Egyptian Premier League: The White Knights play Ceramica Cleopatra at 9pm while the Red Devils meet El Gaish at the same time. Enppi and Ismailiy also kick off at 9pm.

It’s a clash of the titans in Germany, when holders Bayern Munich meets Borussia Dortmund to decide who gets the Super Cup. The one-off game is played once a year and sees the Bundesliga champions meet the winners of the DFB-Pokal knockout competition.

The Champions League qualifying play-offs also get underway tonight: The headline fixture will see Monaco host Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg at 9pm.


Back in Cairo and need a pick-me-up? Maadi’s FengCha serves authentic bubble tea or ‘boba’ that is sweet, refreshing and super delicious with the little tasty bobas. If you haven’t had boba before, think tapioca in its consistency and texture. Their drinks are a great solution to the capital city’s heat and we recommend their brown sugar boba tea, dirty boba, or the purple-colored wolfberry bobbi tea. The joint also has some creative creations like a cheese tea (that we were too intimidated to try) and matcha boba, as well as food options such as boba cheesecake and boba-filled japanese mini pancakes.

(all times CLT)

For anyone wanting a high-energy evening, shaabi heavyweight Abdel Baset Hammouda is performing tomorrow at Cairo Jazz 610 out in Sheikh Zayed, starting 9pm. Reservations can be made through Facebook, from 12-8pm.

Dawar in Downtown Cairo is holding a hatha yoga workshop today (but only for women), running from 7-8pm and costing EGP 120 for walk-ins. All levels, including beginners, are welcome — but you need to register through the Facebook page.

And tonight at Room New Cairo, Gravy Train is holding a Pink Floyd tribute starting 9pm. Tickets cost EGP 150 and can be purchased online through the Facebook page.


A simple, effective and practical primer for budding entrepreneurs: Start-up Saboteurs is written by Ziad Abdelnour, a Lebanese-born American who is the president and CEO of New York-based PE firm Blackhawk Partners. The book looks at “how incompetence, ego, and small thinking prevent true wealth creation.” Abdelnour stresses that wealth isn’t about flaunting in front of family and friends, it’s about having the independence and financial security to do what you want. It’s an interesting read for all budding entrepreneurs to understand the personal and professional afflictions that sabotage growth for a business. The topics covered in the book range from the fundamentals of negotiation and the pros and cons of accepting venture capital funding all the way to the philosophy behind sound leadership.

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER …is going to be just a fraction cooler than today’s. We can expect a daytime high of 38°C and a nighttime low of 23°C in Cairo tomorrow, according to our favorite weather app. Sahel should see a balmy daytime high of 30°C, followed by a overnight low of 24°C.


Remittances spike in May

Remittance inflows from Egyptians working abroad rose almost 50% in May to USD 2.6 bn, up from USD 1.8 bn in May 2020, according to central bank figures (pdf) released this morning. Expats sent some USD 28.5 bn back home during the first 11 months of the fiscal year (July 2020-May 2021), up 13% from the same period a year earlier.

Inflows held up well through the pandemic: Remittances shrugged off covid lockdowns and the global oil price crash to rise 7% to USD 29.2 bn during 2020. In the second quarter — during which the initial wave of covid coincided with a historic slump in the price of oil — inflows slipped 10% y-o-y, only to rebound immediately the following quarter, reaching a multi-year high of more than USD 8 bn. Many analysts had issued more apocalyptic forecasts for Egyptian remittances, which rely heavily on expats living in Gulf economies that were hit hard by the oil crash and months of lockdown.

Inflows have remained above pre-pandemic levels since, coming in at USD 7.9 bn in the most recent quarterly balance of payments report in 3Q2020-2021.

Remittances are a key source of hard currency for Egypt and have only grown more important since the onset of the pandemic, which shuttered the country’s tourism industry and cut into Suez Canal revenues.


Tycoon officially acquires 85% of ANFI

Tycoon officially has 85% of ANFI: The EGX officially confirmed (jpg) this morning that Tycoon Holding has succeeded in acquiring Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Egypt’s (ADIB) 85% stake in brokerage firm Alexandria National Company for Financial Investment (ANFI). The Emirati lender said as much on Sunday, announcing that it had agreed to sell its 4.4 mn shares in the company for Tycoon’s EGP 6.25 per share offer price. ADIB Egypt owns 9% of ANFI directly and the remainder through its KWIN and ADI Lease subsidiaries.

Tycoon wants 90% of ANFI, launching its mandatory tender offer for 4.7 mn shares on 1 August in a transaction that values the company at EGP 32.7 mn.

It doesn’t appear that the minority shareholders have accepted Tycoon’s offer: Neither the companies nor the EGX have revealed the fate of the remaining 5% stake since the closure of the MTO at the end of Sunday’s trading session.

Tycoon won the ANFI race with the highest bid: The company beat other bidders after raising in mid June its initial offer to exceed Compass Capital’s EGP 6.12 per share bid, and Zeta investments’ EGP 6 apiece offer. Tycoon first entered the bidding race in June, along with other bidders including Kayan Sustainable Development, Zaldi Capital, and a group of investors including Egyptian businessman Ahmed El Saba and Saudi Arabia’s Mostafa El Humeidan.


Elsewedy Electric’s net income surges 73%

EARNINGS WATCH- Elsewedy Electric saw its net income jump 73% to EGP 973.8 mn in 2Q2021, compared to EGP 562.3 mn in the same period last year, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues also rose almost 50% to EGP 13.7 bn during the three-month period, compared to EGP 9.3 bn last year.

The company’s robust performance was underpinned by its wires and cables segment, which saw sales rise 84% to EGP 6.5 bn, from EGP 3.5 bn in the corresponding period last year. Revenues from turnkey projects grew by a third to more than EGP 6 bn, while sales of other electrical products were virtually unchanged during the April-June period.

Moving forward: Elsewedy expects the strong performance to continue during the remainder of the year, putting it on track to deliver “solid” annual growth, said CEO Ahmed El Sewedy. The company expects to “begin consolidating its latest investment in Indonesia during 3Q2021 and continue to restructure its operations in Pakistan, a process which is expected to be complete by the end of 2021,” he added. Elsewedy said earlier this year that it expects to acquire majority stakes in three companies before the end of 2021.

IN OTHER EARNINGS NEWS- Arab Dairy reported a EGP 6.9 mn loss in 2Q2021, against a net income of EGP 4.25 mn in the same period last year, according to the company’s financial results (pdf). This came despite revenues rising almost 25% to EGP 336.1 mn from EGP 270.2 mn last year.


Meet our analyst of the week: Beltone’s Ali Afifi

OUR ANALYST OF THE WEEK- Ali Afifi, vice president of equity research at Beltone Financial (LinkedIn).

When I graduated eight years ago, the research field was not in my sights. However, soon after getting a job in equity research, I fell in love with it and I’ve been working in the field ever since. At the beginning of my career I had the honor of working at Pharos with Hany Genena who I consider one of the greats. I then moved to Mubasher for a year, then Prime Holding, and finally to Beltone where I’ve been for over four years now. I now cover industrials in Egypt and the GCC.

The best part of my job is the exposure and the knowledge. I never would have thought that I would understand fertilizers so well or need to go to different countries for plant site visits and witnessing such huge operations. Some people think being a research analyst is just sitting at a desk, but it's so much more than that and we’re often on the ground checking things out ourselves. There’s also a lot of creativity involved, and no day is the same as the other.

The worst part of my job is that sometimes firms’ management is hesitant to talk to you. Some companies tend to be scared at first, especially if they’re a bit old fashioned and don’t understand the importance of clear communication. It’s very frustrating at times as some companies have so much untapped value but people won’t give you the information you need to show it off. However, Egyptian companies in my sector have been improving in this regard in recent years which I attribute to the state’s push for IPOs and more young people taking on management roles.

During WFH we worked crazy hours. The amount of time we would have spent at roadshows was spent fielding calls at all hours of the day or night. My wife also works in investment banking so we were a very hectic couple for a while [laughs]. Clients had more time to ask questions and picking up the phone had become a more acceptable option. We stayed well engaged with them I would say, but of course roadshows are a whole different ballpark and the ability to build connections and trust is enhanced when you’re physically together. I think that roadshows are definitely coming back, especially with all the potential IPOs that could take place in Egypt in the coming years.

It’s been an exceptional year for commodities, especially since last year they were at all time lows and now they’re at all time highs. There are several supercycles happening for commodities such as aluminum and cement, making it a very interesting time to be an industrials analyst. Things are constantly happening globally and it’s reflective in the stocks I cover. We try to quickly anticipate everything as everyone is trying to stay ahead of the curve. I see the commodities boom lasting for a long time. It could normalize for a bit but I think long-term it will still stay at levels that are higher than they were pre-covid.

My theory of investment is to look at fundamentals, especially from a long-term perspective. It’s important to read the market by understanding the psychology of the people. How are they feeling? Are they bullish or bearish? Being aware and investing dynamically will net you good returns, but it requires a lot of research and constant calls to people to assess sentiment. You always have to remember that nothing is set in stone and when something changes you should be ready to act.

The most important factor I look at is the company’s management. Poor management that doesn’t communicate openly can often weigh heavily on the stock price because people consider that the company has a bad track record. However, when I feel that there is value that is being over penalized by the management, I try to help the firm out by initiating coverage as well as clarifying and communicating the story.

I think 2021 still has potential to be the year of Egypt. We weren’t terribly affected by covid either economically or socially, and everything is currently falling into place for a revival. The stock market and especially industrials have performed well and I think this will only continue going forward.

If I had to switch and cover another industry I would choose healthcare or real estate. Healthcare is really interesting with all the acquisitions and expansions taking place. You can see the rapid evolution in the sector. Meanwhile, real estate never goes out of fashion and is always a key industry. However, industrials is always my top choice. Whenever I was offered the option to switch, I chose to stay in what I consider the most dynamic sector.

The last great thing I watched was a German show called Dark. To me, it’s the best show of all time as I like series where you really have to concentrate.

I’m currently reading Paris 1919 which looks at the last six months of WWI. I’m a history buff and I enjoy reading or watching documentaries about history.

In my downtime, which I usually don’t have [laughs], I like to play volleyball. I love playing and watching sports, so the Olympics was a blast for me. I’m also a big supporter of Man United. When I have a long vacation, I love to travel. I really want to go back to Italy or Greece because I still have a lot to explore.


The EGX30 fell 1% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.9 bn (29% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 0.9% YTD.

In the green: Egyptian for Tourism Resorts (+2.7%), Ibnsina Pharma (+1.8%), and Rameda (+1.7%).

In the red: Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (-2.7%), CIB (-2.6%), and Ezz Steel (-2.1%).


26-28 August (Thursday-Saturday): Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

September: Delegation of Russian companies to visit Russian Industrial Zone.

1-3 September (Wednesday-Friday): Digi Sign Africa, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt.

2 September (Thursday): The new EGX mechanism for calculating closing share prices will come into effect.

3-5 September (Friday-Sunday): The World Karate Federation will hold the third competition of the 2021 Karate 1-Premier League in Cairo.

5-7 September (Sunday-Tuesday): The Arab Security Conference, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo, Egypt.

7-8 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Euromoney Conferences will host the GlobalCapital Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum 2021, featuring Vice Minister of Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk.

7-9 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Egy Health Expo, Al Manara International Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

9 September (Thursday): DevOpsDays Cairo 2021 is being organized by ITIDA and the Software Engineering Competence Center in cooperation with DXC Technology, IBM Egypt and Orange Labs.

12 September (Sunday): International schools begin 2021-2022 academic 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.

21-22 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

22-25 September (Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

30 September: Closing of 2021’s first oil and gas tender in the Gulf of Suez, Western Desert, and the Mediterranean.

October: New legislative session begins.

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.

1 October (Friday): State-owned companies and government service bodies selling goods and services to customers 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.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

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

9 October (Saturday): Public schools begin 2021-2022 academic year

11-17 October (Monday-Sunday): IMF + World Bank Annual Meetings.

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.

31 October – 12 November (Sunday-Friday): The 26th UN Climate Change Conference, Glasgow, UK.

November: The French-Egyptian Business Forum is set to take place in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

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.

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

2-3 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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

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

7-8 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Trade Finance Summit.

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.

14-19 December (Tuesday-Sunday): The Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater.

14-15 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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.

16 June 2022 (Thursday): End of 2021-2022 academic year for public schools

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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