Thursday, 22 November 2018

Gov’t puts banks’ t-bill profits in spotlight

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

A reminder as we head into the madness that is Black (or white, if you must) Friday in Egypt: We’re not alone in wanting to tax online sales: “At least 32 [US] states have passed or are soon expected to pass laws requiring online sellers to collect and remit sales taxes,” Reuters reports. The challenges in collecting the newswire explores are uniquely American, but the impulse to tax online something that is taxed offline? That’s universal.

Did our fertilizer exports just get a shot in the arm? A new European Union cap on cadmium levels in fertilizers could advantage Egyptian producers (alongside rivals from Russia, KSA and Jordan) and punish exporters in Morocco and Tunisia, whose output tend to be higher in the metal.

SWF bylaws and articles announced today? Officials are due to meet today to review the “nearly complete” bylaws and articles governing Egypt’s new sovereign wealth fund. Media reports suggest the fund will move into the setup phase within a month of finishing the bylaws and naming a CEO. The team working to hire the chief executive for the SWF told us last week that it would need a little more time before making an announcement.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is in Bulgaria for a two-day visit, during which he will discuss illegal migration and other issues with Bulgarian officials, Al Shorouk reports.

ON THE HORIZON: A couple of things to keep your eye on heading into next week:

  • House to debate 0% duty on EU car imports: The House Industry Committee will hold hearings next week on Egypt’s obligation to cut to 0% its import duties on EU-assembled cars as of 1 January, 2019, Rep. Farag Amer tells Al Masry Al Youm.
  • FRA to look into Beltone’s appeal on Monday: The Financial Regulatory Authority has reportedly postponed to Monday a hearing of Beltone Financial’s appeal against the FRA’s six-month suspension of its investment banking arm, sources said, according to Al Mal.

Oil prices rose to above USD 63 per barrel on Wednesday after a 6% drop the previous day on news that US crude inventories fell by around 1.5 mn barrels last week, Bloomberg and Reuters reported. Investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts the coming weeks see continued volatility in oil prices, Reuters notes. “It will take a fundamental catalyst for prices to stabilize and eventually trade higher,” Goldman said. OPEC and non-OPEC producers are expected to work on a strategy to stabilize oil markets at their coming meeting, Reuters quoted Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister Fayadh Al-Nema as having said yesterday.

The recent correction in oil prices could save Egypt a bundle this fiscal year — as much as EGP 18 bn less than expected if prices close the year at an average of USD 58/bbl, according to Al Mal. The state budget for the current fiscal year assumes an oil price of USD 67/bbl.

Is the tech-led selloff the start of a new era for equities? Western markets took a bit of a breather yesterday heading into Thanksgiving weekend in the US, and trading in Asia is relatively calm this morning. But something is shifting: “A market tornado that began in the US technology sector broadened into a global stock sell-off this week, transporting investors to an environment that looks very different from the benign and predictable one they have enjoyed since the recovery from the financial crisis. … A new, more ambiguous and volatile market regime is beckoning … but what this new era will look like remains unclear.” Read Investors struggle to deal with ‘Land of Oz’ markets in the Financial Times.

It’s not an easy morning to be a Goldman exec in MENA: “An Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund has sued Goldman Sachs over the Malaysian 1MDB scandal, accusing the US bank of bribing its officials during a ‘massive global conspiracy,’” according to the Financial Times. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal also have the story. Haven’t been following the case? Bloomberg’s indispensable primer is here.

The most-clicked stories in Enterprise in the past week included:

  • How a low-carb diet might help you maintain a healthy weight (NYT)
  • Landing the plane (Goldman Sachs economic research note)
  • Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal look at the slowdown in Dubai
  • Regional economic outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia (IMF, pdf)
  • How one family built a USD 8 bn software startup. (Bloomberg)
  • What’s happening to the global price of oil? (NYT)
  • Energy sector causes spike in Egypt’s M&A activity and the PE market heats up in 2018 (Mergermarket, pdf)

This year’s Cairo International Film Festival is underway and features 11 virtual reality films, a star-studded audience and films from around the world. The festival runs through 29 November and will include 11 virtual reality films. VIP attendees include execs from HBO, Netflix, France’s Gaumont as well as the Middle East’s OSN, Front Row Distribution, and New Century Productions. The festival’s jury committee is headed by Danish film director and two-time Cannes Film Festival winner Bille August. Two awards — one for People’s Choice and another for Best Arab Film — have been added to the awards program at this year’s gathering.

PSA- Wish your American colleague / client / friend / family member a Happy Thanksgiving. Celebrating abroad and feeling a bit nostalgic? We suggest Thanksgiving-themed episodes of Friends and this gallery of old-time images from the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in New York, courtesy the NYT.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

It was another night of miscellany on last night’s talk shows, with no overarching theme or topic of discussion emerging.

Increasing the private sector’s role in the economy was the topic of a roundtable discussion between Egyptian Businessmen’s Association Chairman Ali Eissa, industrial investors syndicate head Mohamed El Genidy and head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ real estate development division Tarek Shoukry on Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:31).

Trade and Industry Minister Amr Nassar’s visit to Moscow this week and progress on the Russian Industrial Zone were the main topic of discussion for the head of Egypt’s trade office in Moscow, Nasser Hamed (watch, runtime: 7:04).

House Rep. Essam El Fekky is pushing a private member’s bill that would bar medical professionals from simultaneously working at government hospitals and private institutions in an attempt to keep doctors “more focused” on serving government hospitals, said Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal (watch, runtime: 16:52).

Mo Salah’s latest “crisis” in Egypt: Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal went on a tirade against Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhy over a Gharbiya youth center’s decision to suspend Mohamed Salah’s membership because the Liverpool forward was late in paying the EGP 57 annual membership fee. The center restored his membership once the fee was paid, but Kamal was beside himself that authorities did not intervene (watch, runtime: 1:27).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Egypt finalizes settlement with Israel on USD 1.76 bn int’l arbitration ruling: The Madbouly government has finalized a settlement to reduce a USD 1.76 bn award Israeli Electric Company won in 2012 against EGAS, EGPC and East Mediterranean Gas (EMG), unnamed government sources told the domestic press. The settlement, awarded for the cut-off of natural gas exports to our eastern neighbors, will be reduced and amortized over a period of time, one source said. Egypt will begin paying the fine as soon as Israel begins selling natural gas to Egypt sometime in 1H2019, allowing the government to pay off the fine using a portion of revenues from transporting the gas from Israeli fields through its pipeline network. Sources had told Bloomberg in August that the Egyptian government has reached an agreement to reduce the arbitration award to USD 470 mn payable over a period of about 15 years. Egypt is believed to be lining up a facility from banks to cover the sum.

Background: The Egyptian government made settling the USD 1.76 bn award a condition for allowing any multi-bn agreement to buy gas from Israel. Word of a settlement in the offing emerged when Alaa Arafa’s Dolphinus Holdings announced a USD 15 bn agreement with operators of the Tamar and Leviathan fields, Delek and Noble Energy, to buy gas, which could be processed at Egyptian liquefaction plants and exported. The agreement paved the way for Noble Energy and Delek, along with their Egyptian partner East Gas, to acquire a 39% stake in pipeline operator East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) — a crucial milestone in Egypt becoming the regional export hub for the East Mediterranean gas fields.

EMG pipeline sidelined until the end of the year? Israel will export natural gas from its Tamar and Leviathan fields to Egypt through its domestic network and not the Sinai pipeline, which will be “used at a later stage,” Delek Drilling CEO Yossi Abu said, according to Haaretz. Initially, gas will be delivered from Israel through the Arab Gas Pipeline (which the Israeli’s fondly refer to as the Pan-Arab pipeline) connecting Jordan and Egypt. Israel’s gas network will be connected to the Arab Gas pipeline in May 2019, Abu said. The EMG pipeline would be used to send gas to Egypt by December 2019, he added. The decision comes amid concerns that the EMG pipeline would not be enough to meet the contracted delivery of 7 bcf per year, especially when the Leviathan field comes online.

***

How do you expect your business to do in 2019? Each year, we ask readers to weigh in on what they expect of the year ahead — whether they’re investing or hiring. What they expect the exchange rate to be. Whether interest rates are winds at their backs — or headwinds. Take part in the largest poll of executive sentiment in Egypt. It won’t take more than a couple of minutes, but the insights help the entire community.

Take our 2019 poll in English. Or, if you prefer, take it in Arabic.

***

Banks will be required to separately account for their earnings on holdings of t-bills and gov’t bonds: The Madbouly Cabinet approved yesterday amendments to the Income Tax Act that will, if enacted, force banks and financial institutions separately account on their income statements for returns from their investments in government debt, according to a statement from the Madbouly Cabinet. “The move would bring current accounting practices in line with international best practices” and allow the government to tax earnings on these yields in a “fairer” way, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. We’ll have more on the story as it unfolds.

Competition watchdog aiming for out-of-court settlement with pharma distributors? The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) is reportedly looking to reach an out-of-court settlement with four pharma companies it slapped with EGP 5.6 bn in fines for alleged anti-competitive behaviour, judicial sources said. The ECA successfully brought a case against players including Ibnsina, Ramco, Multipharma, and United Company for Distribution and Trade on allegations they colluded to cut credit periods and slash discounts to small pharmacies. At the request of the ECA, the Cairo Economic Court postponed to 19 December an appeal hearing originally scheduled for this week to give the parties time to reach a settlement, the sources claim.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Algebra Ventures joins USD 16 mn series ‘C’ funding for the UAE’s HolidayMe: Our friends at Algebra Ventures joined a USD 16 mn series ‘C’ funding round for Dubai-based HolidayMe, the firm said in a statement (pdf). Algebra invested alongside Gobi Partners, Accel Partners, and Global Ventures. Four-year-old HolidayMe is an online platform offering travel solutions and customized holidays targeting customers in the Middle East and North Africa. HolidayMe reported sharp growth in both transactions and gross merchandise value on its platform. “HolidayMe has developed a leadership position in the large and fast-growing Muslim travel online market. The team has the vision, domain experience and capabilities to become the global leader in that market,” said Algebra Ventures Managing Partner Tarek Assaad. “We are delighted to join our co-investors, who are global leaders in venture investing, in supporting HolidayMe to achieve that goal,” he added.

INVESTMENT WATCH- Russia’s Metprom to invest EUR 210 mn in two steel projects: Russian metallurgy company Metprom is planning to invest EUR 210 mn in two projects in Egypt, Metprom Chairman Stel Lomachenko told Trade and Industry Minister Amr Nassar during his visit to Moscow this week, according to a ministry statement. The company plans to invest EUR 60 mn in setting up a rebar and wire production facility with an expected production capacity of 150k tonnes per annum in the Russian Industrial Zone. The remaining EUR 150 mn will be used to refurbish the Helwan iron and steel complex to increase the facility’s production capacity to 500k tonnes of steel billets.

INVESTMENT WATCH- UK-based travel tourism company TUI will launch two new concept hotels, one each in Marsa Alam and Hurghada, according to TravelMole. The hotels are include the Sensimar Alaya in Marsa Alam (due to launch February 2019) and an unnamed resort in Hurghada (launching summer 2019). There was no mention of the investment cost or planned number of rooms at either property. The two are part of a 15-property expansion of TUI’s MENA footprint over the coming fiscal year. TUI, which already has a range of properties in Egypt, recently announced new charter flights to Marsa Alam and Hurghada from Birmingham as part of its winter 2019 holiday packages.

Speaking of tourism: Egypt made it to a list of the most popular tourist destinations for Ukrainian holidaymakers following a recorded 43.7% y-o-y increase in arrivals from Ukraine in 1H2018, according to Ukrainian Ministry of Economic Development figures. We had reported yesterday that winter tourism bookings to Egypt – particularly from Germany Italy, Poland, and Ukraine – are looking promising. Ukraine was Egypt’s second largest inbound tourism market in 2017.

REGULATION WATCH- All joint stock companies must register shares in Misr Clearing by January — or else: The Madbouly government is making it mandatory for all joint stock companies (basically, any company with “SAE” at the end) to register their shares with Misr for Central Clearing, Depository and Registry by 16 January 2019. Companies failing to do so will be unable to transfer shares or distribute dividends, and GAFI will refuse to sign off on decisions reached by the companies’ boards and general assemblies. Andersen Tax and Legal in Egypt has a backgrounder on the decision.

CBE to restructure treasury auctions and sales: The central bank, cooperation with the Finance Ministry, is looking to shake up the current bond auction system in a bid to lure new investors to Egyptian treasuries. The CBE will establish a central securities depository that will include a primary and secondary market auction systems, an electronic platform, a date-collection operation and a yield pricing monitor, the CBE said said in a prospectus to the Irish stock exchange (pdf). The initiative is being developed in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the MENA Transition Fund.

Euroclear to be set up in early FY2019-20: Egypt is hoping to have all of its government-issues securities available on Belgium-based clearing house Euroclear at the beginning of FY 2019-2020, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. Maait said negotiations are still ongoing. He had opened talks with Euroclear back in September to facilitate the settlement of domestic debt for overseas investors, who can currently only access the debt market through a handful of local banks with licenses to operate as primary dealers.

CBE to allow banks set up SME-focused PE firms: The central bank will allow banks to set up private equity funds for SMEs as part of its strategy to attract investment to smaller companies, the CBE noted in the prospectus. The bank is also looking to launch an electronic platform to provide non-financial services to SMEs and working with stakeholders to build an investment map and e-commerce facilities for agricultural projects.

CABINET WATCH- “Meeza” debit card to encompass all government services: The government is working to expand its new “Meeza” state debit card to be the single platform through which citizens will access all government services, including healthcare services under the Universal Healthcare Act, according to a Cabinet statement. Subsidies beneficiaries (whether it be fuel and commodities) and recipients of cash subsidy programs such as Takaful and Karama will receive their benefits through these cards when they start rolling out in December. Other decisions taken by the cabinet include:

  • Approving a EUR 213 mn loan from the European Investment Bank to upgrade sewage systems in the Nile Delta region;
  • Approving a USD 300 mn loan from the World Bank to develop and upgrade water and sewage system across rural Egypt;
  • Approving a grant from China for an unspecified amount to help fund upgrades to Egypt’s public schools;
  • Dedicating a portion of tithes collected from theaters, cinemas and entertainment venues towards funding charitable organizations;
  • Approving payments of EGP 100k to each of the families of the victims of a Daesh terrorist attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christian pilgrims earlier this month.

EXCLUSIVE- Gov’t looks to raise stamp tax on phone lines: The Finance Ministry could raise the stamp tax on phone lines through legislative amendments now on the drafting table, a ministry source told Enterprise. Mobile network customers currently pay EGP 6 a year in stamp tax dues for their credit usage, whether that be under a monthly payment plan or phone top-up cards. The ministry will hold meetings with the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) and mobile network operators to decide how much the stamp tax will increase. The ministry could raise the fees by 2-4x. A senior government official had told us last month that the ministry was mulling raising the stamp tax or introducing an entirely different fee to replace the EGP 50 levy imposed on new phone lines at the start of the fiscal year in July.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Executive regulations for the Food Cart Act will be ready “soon,” Investment Minister Sahar Nasr said, according to Youm7. The act was ratified by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in June. The legislation, proposed by Rep. Mohamed Ali Youssef, includes 17 clauses regulating permits, equipment, location, fees, and food safety standards.

MOVES- Sherif Elwy (bio) was reportedly named CEO and managing director of Arab African International Bank, replacing Hassan Abdalla, an unnamed banker told Masrawy, confirming our report of this past September. Elwy previously led Arab Bank in Egypot. The central bank’s Mai Aboulnaga, finance ministry’s Ahmed Kochouk and Ibrahim Safwat Lotfy have reportedly been appointed to AAIB’s board of directors. The changes are not yet reflected in the bank’s website.

MOVES- Facebook has announced it had tapped veteran Booz management consultant Ramez Shehadi (LinkedIn) as its new managing director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to a press release.

MOVES- Trade Minister Amr Nassar has appointed Shady Amin to head the ministry’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA), ministry sources said, according to Youm7. Amin succeeds Ahmed Abdel Razak, who’s been in office since October 2016. His appointment comes as issues related factory licensing and industrial registry are expected to top the IDA’s agenda in the near future.

CORRECTION- We had incorrectly said in our Monday issue that Pioneers Holding was looking to acquire 100% of Electro Cable Egypt in a transaction valued at as much as EGP 711.5 mn; that figure actually represents the value of 100%, and Pioneers Holding already owns 48.5% of the company. That implies the acquisition is actually worth closer to EGP 366 mn. We have corrected the story on our website.

** SHARE ENTERPRISE WITH A FRIEND **

Enterprise is available without charge — just visit our English or Arabic subscription page, depending on which edition you would like to receive. We give you just about everything you need to know about Egypt, in your inbox Sunday through Thursday before 7am CLT (8am for Arabic), and all we ask for is your name, email address and where you hang your hat during business hours.

The Macro Picture

Convergence of US and EU economies will decide if a major global recession is coming, Allianz Chief Economic Adviser Mohamed El Erian tells BBC World Service’s Hardtalk. For Europe there is a 50% chance for a recession next year, but not for the US. The issue here is the divergence of the US economy being on a high, while growth in Europe is slowing down thanks to structural impairment. How the world economy will fare depends on the convergence of these two factors. Will the US be dragged down by the rest of the world, or will Europe get its act together and catch up? El Erian’s comments on the global economy come as US, European and Asian equities took a major hit this week.

The US Federal Reserve should take responsibility for the impact of monetary tightening on emerging markets, El Erian appears to suggest, using the metaphor that you cannot have a good house in a bad neighborhood. It was the quantitative easing that raised liquidity and drove investors unfamiliar with some EM countries to buy their debt, take on their risks and deploy capital inefficiently. As the Fed now moves to raise interest rates, these investors are pulling out and EMs suffer for it.

El Erian sees logic in the Trump Administration’s trade war, saying that it tumbled on to a ‘Reagan moment’: “If the US is willing to incur the risk of a trade war, it will win every single time.” The aggressive approach is driving America’s trade partners to try to de-escalate trade tensions as they realize they cannot win a trade war with the US.

You can catch the full interview here (listen, runtime: 23:00), or catch his recent appearance on Bloomberg, where he says he doesn’t expect a US recession in the next 18-24 months (watch, runtime 3:30).

Egypt in the News

Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning is the abduction of 16 Egyptians in Eastern Libya by unknown gunmen. The Egyptian workers, from Kafr El Sheikh, were taken hostage five days ago amid a reported financial dispute between a Libyan contractor and an unnamed Egyptian businessman. The kidnapped workers were yesterday and the dispute has been resolved, Kafr El Sheikh Governor Ismail Taha said, according to Al Masry Al Youm, without providing additional details. Reuters has the story.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Russia calls onto UAE businessmen to invest in its Egypt industrial zone: Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin has called onto UAE businessmen to cooperate with his country by investing in a massive industrial zone it’s building in Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone and other projects in the region, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, according to Youm7. The House of Representatives signed off this month on contracts with Russia to establish the USD 7 bn Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ).

Energy

Egypt to issue global tender for transformer power station in Beni Suef

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) will issue a global tender to build a 22/66 kV, 80 MVA transformer power station in Beni Suef, sources told Al Mal. Bids for the tenders are expected to be received by the end of December, and the station should be constructed within three months of signing the contract.

TransGlobe announces capacity from well at Western Desert concession

TransGlobe Energy announced on Monday that its SGZ 6X exploration well in the Western Desert’s South Ghazalat concession has a combined capacity of 3,840 bpd of oil and 2.4 mcf/d of natural gas. The company’s tests on the well’s upper and lower formations were positive and have prompted it to begin a “development plan” for the well, which means the appraisal period was successful, the company said.

Finance in Motion to invest USD 20 bn in Benban through Green for Growth Fund

Germany-based impact investor Finance in Motion is planning to invest USD 20 mn in a renewable energy project in the Benban solar complex through its Green for Growth Fund, company senior investment and risk executive for the MENA region Mohamed Morsy said, according to Al Mal. The new financing will bring the fund’s total investments in Egypt to USD 97 mn. The fund’s managers are also studying a further USD 25-50 mn financing package for unnamed banks and leasing companies in Egypt.

Infrastructure

ITDA to offer five retail outlets and logistics centers next month

The Internal Trade Development Authority (ITDA) will launch tenders for five commercial centers and trade zones to investors next month, ITDA head Ibrahim El Ashmawy told Amwal Al Ghad. The tenders are part of the Supply Ministry’s logistics-focused internal trade strategy, which will see the establishment of several logistics zones for agricultural products.

Health + Education

Health Ministry to begin implementing meds tracking system by year-end

The Health Ministry will begin implementing its digital tracking system to monitor the distribution and sales of meds by the end of the year, deputy head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ pharma division Riad Armanious said yesterday, according to Masrawy. The system, which is meant to help prevent locally manufactured products from being smuggled for exports and ensure expired meds are recalled from the market, will require local pharma manufacturers and distributing companies to enter a barcode into the database for every medication in the market since 1 January of this year, Health Ministry official Rasha Ziad said earlier this year. The ministry had announced its plans to create the database last year, after it struggled to keep expired meds off the market following its decision to implement price increases.

Five percent of Egyptians test positive for Hepatitis C

Five percent of the 10 mn Egyptians screened for Hepatitis C in the nationwide survey tested positive, Health Minister Hala Zayed said, according to Al Ahram. Around 60% of the screened citizens also suffer from obesity and another 5% have diabetes, according to the minister. The government had launched last October the first phase of a nationwide program to detect and treat Hepatitis C patients. The program will run through to April 2019.

FPI in talks with investment fund SPE for EGP 500 mn

Future Pharmaceutical Industries (FPI) is in talks with English investment fund SPE over a EGP 500 mn funding package to increase production, and expects to sign a final agreement “within days,” CEO Gamal El Leithy told Amwal Al Ghad. FPI plans to use the funds to install new production lines.

Tourism

Egypt inks cooperation with Nikki Beach Hotels for New Alamein project

The Housing Ministry signed an MoU with international hotel chain Nikki Beach Hotels to operate and manage a hotel and residential project in New Alamein, according to a Cabinet statement. No further details were provided.

Other Business News of Note

CIRA, EGX sign cooperation agreement to promote financial literacy in Egypt

Leading private-sector education provider CIRA has signed a cooperation framework with the EGX to promote financial literacy in Egypt, EGX boss Mohamed Farid tells Youm7. The agreement will see the EGX train 60 faculty members from Badr University, which is owned by CIRA, on the principles of finance and stock trading. CIRA also plans to start offering education courses in capital and financial markets at the university, as well as at its secondary schools.

Legislation + Policy

MP drafting new law to regulate billboards in Egypt

House Rep. Mohamed Zein is preparing a draft law to regulate billboards, which he says pose a safety hazard due to their being a distraction, Egyptian Streets reports. According to Zein, some billboards are also put up without proper licensing or permission. The government had approved in January a similar piece of legislation, which would set regulations for the issuance of licenses for new billboards and regulate the content of the ads they carry. It remains unclear what the fate of the government’s bill is.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Italy arrests Egyptian accused of backing Daesh

Italian police arrested in Milan yesterday an Egyptian man accused of supporting Daesh, Al Mal reports. Police said that the suspect was planning to join the terrorist group and was using social media apps to share jihadist propaganda. Investigations also found two other Egyptians were in connection with the suspect.

My Morning Routine

My Morning Routine looks each week at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions because we simply can’t help ourselves. Extracts from our conversation this week with Magda Habib, whose decency and smarts long ago played a critical, if indirect, role in setting us down a path that made Enterprise possible.

Who am I? I’m Magda Habib, aged 51, wife and mother of three daughters and a business professional. I’m the CEO and founder of Dawi Clinics and an amateur triathlete.

Dawi Clinics is a chain of primary healthcare clinics. You know how you complained a few issues back that there are no primary care / family physicians in Cairo? I’m here to prove you wrong. Today, we’re running five locations and have plans to open more in 2019 across Cairo then spread to other governorates, including our first clinics outside of Cairo.

We want to be the first destination for all family members for all their healthcare needs, so we have internists, pediatricians and dentists available all day, every day and we complement this service with gynecology, dermatology, ENT, orthopedics and psychiatry. We also have lab sampling and diagnostic services on site. Our aim is to be able to diagnose and treat c. 80% of all patients who present at our clinic. This, together with easy scheduling, no waiting time, clean clinics and friendly staff who know how to coordinate between specialities and do follow-up gives people the care they need in a convenient setting.

I am a morning person, and my morning routine begins daily at 5am — maximum 5:30am. Until 7am, I’m usually in the kitchen talking and having coffee with my husband, preparing breakfast and lunch for my twin 14-year-old daughters and seeing them off to school. It is some days the only hour of the day when we have a chance to catch up. By 7am, all three of them are out of the house except my older daughter, who works and has her own routine.

When do I read Enterprise? I do read Enterprise every day at some point of the day, but unfortunately usually in the evenings after I come back from work and am unwinding on the couch before bedtime. I’m an avid reader, but the past 24 months setting up Dawi have been so loaded that I don’t have much mental energy left for something serious. So when I need to unwind, I read novels (I loved Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy) or watch TV series (Suits, The Crown and House of Cards). The last interesting business book I read before Dawi — and thoroughly enjoyed and would like to revisit — was Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality.

When everyone is out of the house in the morning, I do one of two things: If I have a backlog of work or something that needs a very high degree of concentration, I sit at my laptop with coffee and work alone in a quiet house for a couple of hours. Then I get dressed and go to the office. Otherwise, and more frequently, I grab my training gear and join my Maadi Athletes team for our morning triathlon training.

Maadi Athletes is a triathlon team. We swim Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, run Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, and cycle on Fridays. This is my preferred morning. But it is hectic, especially if it is swim day, because I need all my work gear in a bag before rushing to the club. After training, it’s a quick shower and then I rush to the office by 9:00 or 9:30 max for an early meeting.

Fuul is an indulgence. On days when I don’t have very early meetings, I may take the liberty of joining my teammates for a quick fuul breakfast at Sami’s, the street vendor in Sakanat El-Maadi. It’s a delicious meal, especially in winter after a long swim.

I’m usually in the office until 6-7pm, then home for a couple of hours doing errands or helping with homework. I read or watch TV for an hour, then am in bed by 10pm.

I like building things, and Dawi Clinics is my third baby. I was employee number three at Raya Holding, where I helped Medhat Khalil build the company as a member of the executive team. I had a 14-year run there and left the company after it had gone public and grown to be about 7k employees. Then I co-founded Fawry, the e-payment network, in 2009 with Ashraf Sabry.

I hate when people call me a “serial entrepreneur.” I was super lucky to work with Medhat Khalil when the idea of Raya came up and I was super lucky that he gave me space to work and grow during the time it was developing. I also think I was super lucky to have been Ashraf Sabry’s friend and work colleague, so that I knew about his payment venture when he was starting it and he allowed my to co-invest and co-found it with him.

After the Fawry exit, I had vague plans of taking it easy. Within six months of that, I was already chin-deep in work setting up Dawi.

Why Dawi? I got approached by several people, either for corporate jobs or for new venture ideas. Nader Iskander, my friend and CEO of EME International, approached me one day with the idea of the “Starbucks of clinics.” He had seen and read about the chains of urgent care clinics that were growing like mushrooms around the US. The idea stuck in my mind, and as I did some research, I realized a standardized medical services chain is all about brand management, retail management, operational efficiencies, HR, SOPs, audit — all areas that I am good at. Nader (who is not an MD) and I started meeting with physician friends to discuss the idea, and that’s how we came into contact with Dr. Mairose Doss, my co-founder and partner. I tossed out the idea at a Christmas party in 2015, and she just loved it.

This was all in the run-up to devaluation, remember. The three of us spent the first six months of 2016 on research and our business plan — and then six months on fundraising. Nobody wanted to take the risk — it was a really, really bad time to be raising funds in Egypt. We found a window in trapped local liquidity and raised our first round from Egyptian high-net-worth investors. We had a company by January 2017 and had opened our first branch in Maadi by June of last year.

The investment thesis is about scale and patient loyalty. Outpatient, especially with a primary care focus, is a low-margin business, so scale with a focus on operational efficiencies and standardized service are key.

What do people not understand about your business? That they should not pre-diagnose themselves and head straight to a specialist. They need a long-term relationship with a family doctor who they visit whenever they have a medical need. Family physicians can diagnose and treat 70-80% of any issues you have.

This is a time of intense change in the healthcare industry. You’re already starting to see consolidation in tertiary care and diagnostics — less so in outpatient, but it will happen. The sector is just so fragmented. There’s a shift from being doctor-led to brand-led. There’s a growing focus on convenience, patient safety and outcomes. The universal healthcare act will take 15-20 years to roll out across Egypt, but it will bring change — and it is anyone’s guess how, exactly, the private sector fits into all of that. And, of course, there’s how tech will change our industry whether that’s in record keeping, AI, wearables or telemedicine.

I believe in the power of brands.

I stay organized with lists, lists, lists and more lists. The typical problem of having to handle urgent rather than more important matters is something that I still need to learn.

The best piece of business advice I’ve been given? Can I cite two? Medhat Khalil taught me that a “good manager makes themselves dispensable.” Build a team that is younger and more intelligent than you are and who can do the job better. It requires a lot of self-confidence to do this, but the long-term payoff is incalculable — you’re no longer just running the business, but have the freedom yourself to create and achieve new things.

The other is from Omar Samra, if you can call it business advice: It was at a talk he gave about his Everest summit climb: “Just take one more step.”

The Market Yesterday

Share This Section

Powered by
Pharos Holding - http://www.pharosholding.com/

EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.86 | Sell 17.95
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 17.86 | Sell 17.96
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.78 | Sell 17.88

EGX30 (Wednesday): 13,731 (-1.3%)
Turnover: EGP 980 mn (28% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -8.6%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended yesterday’s session down 1.3%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent ended down 2.4%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Porto Group up 9.3%, and Juhayna up 4.8%, and Pioneers Holding up 1.8%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Heliopolis Housing down 4.0%, Ezz Steel down 2.7%. The market turnover was EGP 980 mn, and local investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Short | EGP -34.0 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -60.8 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP +94.8 mn

Retail: 53.1% of total trades | 57.2% of buyers | 49.0% of sellers
Institutions: 46.9% of total trades | 42.8% of buyers | 51.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 54.64 (+2.26%)
Brent: USD 63.48 (+1.52%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 4.45 MMBtu, (-1.57%, December 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,226.70/ troy ounce (+0.45%)

TASI: 7,514.36 (+0.13%) (YTD: +3.99%)
ADX: 4,970.88 (-0.40%) (YTD: +13.01%)
DFM: 2,756.69 (+0.24%) (YTD: -18.20%)
KSE Premier Market: 5,266.27 (-0.08%)
QE: 10,292.82 (+0.24%) (YTD: +20.76%)
MSM: 4,453.30 (+0.03%) (YTD: -12.67%)
BB: 1,314.39 (+0.60%) (YTD: -1.30%)

Share This Section

Calendar

End of November: A delegation from the Egypt-Greece Business Council will visit Athens at the end of November to promote investment, the council’s chairman, Hani Berzi, said.

25-28 November (Sunday-Wednesday): 22nd Cairo ICT, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

26-28 November (Monday-Wednesday): 15th Arab International Mineral Resources Conference, Al Manara International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

03 December (Monday) Consumer Finance Landscape-New Law in the Making, Fairmont Hotel Nile City, Magenta ballroom, Cairo, Egypt

03-05 December (Monday-Wednesday): First Egypt Defense Expo, Egyptian International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

04 December (Tuesday): Egypt’s Emirates NBD PMI for November released.

08-09 December (Saturday-Sunday): Business for Africa and the World: The Africa 2018 Forum, Maritim Jolie Ville International Congress Center, Sharm El Sheikh.

09-10 December (Sunday-Monday): Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration’s Sharm El Sheikh VII conference, Egypt Hall, SOHO Square, Sharm El Sheikh

12 December (Wednesday): Banking and Finance Congress 2018, Cairo, venue TBD.

13-15 December (Thursday-Saturday): Forum on “ The Role of Digital Financial Communication and Solutions in Enhancing Financial Inclusion,” Sharm El Sheikh, venue TBD.

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

27 December (Thursday): CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

01 January 2019 (Tuesday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

07 January 2019 (Monday): Coptic Christmas.

22-25 January 2019 (Tuesday-Friday): World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

23 January 2019 (Wednesday) 50th Cairo International Book Fair.

25 January 2019 (Friday): Police Day, national holiday.

20-22 April 2019 (Friday-Sunday): Spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC.

25 April 2019 (Thursday): Sinai Liberation day, national holiday.

28 April 2019 (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

29 April 2019 (Monday): Easter Monday, national holiday.

01 May 2019 (Wednesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

06 May 2019 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

June 2019: International Forum for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

05-06 June 2019 (Wednesday-Thursday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

10-13 October 2019 (Tuesday-Sunday) Big Industrial Week Arabia 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center.

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.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of Commercial International Bank (tax ID: 204-891-949), the largest private-sector bank in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; and Act Financial (tax ID: 493-924-612), the leading activist investor in Egypt; and Abu Auf (tax ID: 584-628-846), the leading health foodmaker in Egypt and the region.