Thursday, 31 October 2019

Rameda Pharma set to IPO before year’s end

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

The Finance Ministry will meet today with five international banks it hired to manage an upcoming USD-denominated bond issuance, the domestic press reports. Citibank, JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Natixis and Standard Chartered have all won mandates. We have more in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

The US Federal Reserve cut interest rates yesterday for the third time this year, pushing ahead with an easing cycle as it slashed rates 25 bps. The benchmark Fed Funds rate is now in the 1.5%-1.75% range. The move was widely expected ahead of the meeting, with financial markets giving an almost 95% chance of a cut. Read the full statement here.

Powell hints this may be the last cut for 2019: Fed Chairman Jay Powell indicated at the post-meeting presser that the so-called “mid-cycle adjustment” was now at an end, meaning that the bank would not make a fourth cut at its December meeting. “We see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the state of the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook,” he told reporters. CNBC has the story.

The news came as data said the US economy grew at a slightly slower clip of 1.9% clip in the third quarter, down from 2% in the previous quarter on falling business investment and slowing consumer spending. The figures were better than expected, with economists telling MarketWatch prior to the release that growth would slow to 1.6%.

Liquidity squeeze, spiking yields bring prospect of capital controls in Lebanon as banks prepare to open: Lebanese economists and politicians are calling on the government to introduce capital controls to prevent an anticipated bank run and capital exodus when banks reopen on Friday, Bloomberg reports. Bankers have reported clients asking to withdraw money from the country, prompting calls for limits to be placed on the transfer of funds overseas. Banks have remained closed throughout the past two weeks of mass demonstrations, prompting the central bank governor earlier this week to warn of an imminent financial catastrophe.

The yield on Lebanon’s USD bonds due in 2021 soared to a record hitting a record 39% yesterday. The bid-ask spread (the difference between the buying and selling price) widened to 2%, its highest level in more than a decade.


Saudi gets lots of love from Bloomberg during “Davos in the Desert”: Saudi coverage is reaching a fever-pitch, particularly at Bloomberg. Case in point:

  • Everyone’s eyes are quite reasonably on Aramco and the status of its IPO;
  • Bloomberg is also tracking the progress of a USD 8 bn joint venture between Aramco, Air Products & Chemicals Inc. and ACWA Power, which seeks to raise some USD 6 bn in debt to buy gasification and power facilities;
  • It’s also taking note of the Kingdom’s push to use Brazil as a gateway to the rest of Latin America, by investing USD 10 bn in the country through its Public Investment Fund.

And it’s circulating JPMorgan’s prediction that Saudi will become one of the top regional and global business hubs, with the investment bank noting that its business in the Kingdom is growing faster than in any other region in the world. The inclusion of Saudi stocks in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index has been one development that has fueled growth, the company said. As Saudi seeks to divest from oil, and attract foreign capital, global investment firms are lining up to do business with the Kingdom.

Big fat disclaimer: JPMorgan is one of nine joint global coordinators on the Aramco IPO, all of whom will split an estimated USD 450 mn fee pool.


Other international business news worth knowing about:

Afreximbank shelves LSE listing plans: The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is postponing its plans to list its GDRs on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), despite stating as recently as two weeks ago that it was moving ahead with the listing, the Financial Times reports.

Is a merger brewing between Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot’s PSA Group? The Wall Street Journal reports that there are “fluid” talks ongoing between the two companies, with no agreement guaranteed. A successful merger would create the world’s fourth largest auto giant by volume, worth some USD 46 bn.

The semi-finals of the CIB PSA Women’s World Championship and CIB Egyptian Squash Open Men’s Platinum at the Giza Pyramids are officially 75% Egyptian. We have two all-Egyptian ties in the women’s semi-finals, as World no.1 Raneem El Welily goes up against Nouran Gohar. The surprise semi-finalist is Hania El Hammamy, who yesterday came back after being down 2-0 to defeat France’s World no.4 Camille Serme 3-2. El Hammamy will meet Nour El Sherbini, who beat the UK’s Sarah-Jane Perry on Tuesday. Egypt men’s World no.1 Ali Farag plays New Zealand’s Paul Coll. Karim Abdel Gawad yesterday defeated compatriot Marwan El Shorbagy and will face off against Wales’ Joel Makin, who makes his first semi-final after beating Baptiste Masotti. Both semi-finals take place today.


PSA #1- Get your electronic car stickers ASAP: To all you car owners, the Interior Ministry has called on everyone with four wheels to head to the nearest moroor as soon as possible to get their new electronic car stickers, in a statement yesterday. The stickers are attached to the windshield and include an RFID transponder that allows authorities to snag your details if you run a red — and to read vehicle license information from a distance. The stickers will also allow vehicle owners to pay fines electronically. The sticker system was launched in June following amendments to the Traffic Act that would set new rules for licensing and hike fines for traffic infractions.

PSA #2- No long weekend for you: Anyone sorry enough to have work to work on Saturday, 9 November, will get that day off for the Prophet’s birthday, a cabinet statement announced. Many businesses had previously planned for the moulid to fall on Sunday, 10 November.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The economy got a fair share of airtime last night, but other topics also kept the talking heads busy. Among the highlights were newly-released central bank figures and the weekly cabinet meeting, as well as the “train ticket incident” which has featured heavily on the talk shows this week.

External debt: Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal took note of (watch, runtime: 1:26). Assal also reported external debt figures the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) recently released (watch, runtime: 0:53). Planning Minister Hala El Said announced news of aggregated figures showing that the CBE made USD 34 bn in foreign loan repayments since the start of the economic reform program.

In FY2018-2019, the central bank’s total repayments came at USD 13.38. Of this figure, USD 3.23 were in interest and USD 10.15 in principal, according to calculations several news outlets made from the CBE’s database. We noted earlier this month that foreign debt stood at USD 108.7 bn at the end of the fiscal year.

The weekly cabinet meeting was also on Assal’s radar: The highlight of this week’s cabinet meeting was Planning Minister Hala El Said’s official announcement that the economy grew 5.6% in 1Q2019-2020. El Said made the news public on Monday in a televised interview with Sky News Arabia. We have more on the meeting in this morning's Speed Round, below.

Monday’s train incident victim speaks to Sherif Amer: Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer spoke to Ahmed Samir, the man who survived after having reportedly been forced to jump from a moving train on Monday. Samir was injured and his colleague Mohamed Eid killed after the train conductor demanded they jump for not having purchased tickets. The two men, according to Samir, are not street vendors as some media outlets have portrayed. They specialize in a form of handicraft, and were returning home to Cairo from a trip to Alexandria in which they’d planned to do business (watch: part one,runtime: 0:57) and (part two, runtime: 7:54).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

IPO WATCH- Rameda announces intention to IPO in 4Q2019: Rameda Pharma, the country’s fastest-growing generic pharmaceuticals player, announced yesterday morning its intention to sell an undisclosed number of shares in an initial public offering on the EGX in 4Q2019. The company is planning an offering to institutional and international investors as well as a retail offering. The value of the offering was not disclosed.

Rameda would be the second company to go public on the EGX in 2019 after Fawry made its trading debut in August.

Who’s selling? According to the ITF (pdf), Greville Investing is the selling shareholder.

Use of proceeds: Greville will reinject a portion of its proceeds from the transaction to subscribe to at least EGP 650 mn in newly-issued shares. Rameda plans to use the injection to fund operational expansions, with options on the table including the acquisition of new molecules and, potentially, the “opportunistic acquisition of pharmaceutical companies.” Rameda CEO Amr Morsy said the company look forward to further expand and continue growing across Egypt and the Middle East, noting that Rameda plans to introduce new products in Egypt and work on new export markets.

The financials: Rameda’s revenues for FY2018 grew about 27% y-o-y to EGP 805.2 mn, giving it a 2016-18 revenue CAGR of about 43%; adjusted EBITDA grew at a CAGR of about 67% in the same period. Profits last year stood at EGP 129 mn, up from EGP 89 mn the previous year and EGP 27 mn in 2016.

Background: Rameda is formally the Tenth of Ramadan for Pharmaceutical Industries and Diagnostic Reagents SAE. The company was one of at least three Egyptian companies believed to have pulled IPOs after the emerging market meltdown in the second half of last year.

Advisers: HSBC and Investec are joint global coordinators and bookrunners for the international offering, while CI Capital is joint bookrunner. Inktank is investor relations advisor.

Egypt selects advisors for USD-denominated bond issuance this FY: Egypt has selected five international banks to advise on an upcoming USD-denominated bond issuance on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, the Finance Ministry said, naming Citibank, JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Natixis and Standard Chartered. Meanwhile, Al Tamimi & Company was selected as local legal advisor, while Dechert was selected as international counsel. The offering would be made sometime in FY2019-2020, the ministry said in a statement yesterday, but did not specify a date or the expected value of the issuance.The Finance Ministry signalled last month that it will offer USD 2.5-3 bn in eurobonds either at the end of this year or the beginning of 2020, after it tapped 20 international investment banks and 7-8 local and international law firms to advise on the offering.

Thank you, Fed: It appears that the US Federal Reserve’s rate cuts may have encouraged the Finance Ministry to proceed with plans for borrowing. The ministry said it wants to make best use of the “improving emerging market conditions” and the low interest rates on Egyptian debt instruments in the secondary market amid continued strong demand on Egyptian bonds. The Federal Reserve has cut its benchmark rates by 75 bps over the past three months.

Egypt’s 30-year USD-denominated bonds dipped earlier this month pressured by investors seeking to cut their holdings in the secondary market to absorb a possible new bond sale, marking its biggest daily fall since protests last month. The 2047 bond fell USD 0.003 to USD 1.04, its lowest in almost two months. “There’s been some noise about a new [USD] bond issuance coming out of Egypt soon and, given the heavy investor positioning, we might expect some selling as investors make space in their portfolios to purchase the new issue in the primary market,” said Farouk Soussa, senior Middle East and North Africa economist at Goldman Sachs.

Background: The ministry received cabinet approval to issue USD 5 bn-worth of eurobonds this fiscal year. The government, which earlier this year raised the limit of its eurobond program to USD 30 bn from USD 20 bn, last issued eurobonds in April when it sold EUR 1.25 bn in 12-year bonds at a 6.375% yield and EUR 750 mn in six-year bonds at a 4.75% yield.

PRIVATIZATION WATCH- HHD to decide on draft contracts for 10% stake + management rights next month: Heliopolis Housing and Development (HHD) has called for an extraordinary general assembly on 23 November to approve draft contracts for a 10% stake sale that includes management rights to the company, the company said in a regulatory filing (pdf). Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik has said that the state-owned company would award the management rights in January or February. Tawfik had said last month that the 10% stake on offer is part of a wider plan to offer for sale a 25% stake in the company.

HHD is also re-auctioning 50 acres of land plots in Shorouk City, according to a bourse filing (PDF). The date for the auction has yet to be decided. The company had auctioned an undisclosed number of land in Shorouk City, with the size ranging between one and 30 feddans in size and can be used for residential, administrative, or commercial purposes.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Gov’t sets capital requirements for non-bank SME funders: The Madbouly Cabinet approved yesterday draft amendments to the 2014 Microfinance Law that set up new capital requirements for all non-banking finance institutions looking to lend money to SMEs, according to a cabinet statement. Companies looking to finance SMEs must have issued and paid-up capital of EGP 20 mn, while companies looking to finance micro enterprises must have capital of EGP 5 mn. The cabinet also placed the Financial Regulatory Authority in charge of these companies, and tasked it to set up regulations in coordination with the SMEs Development Authority. Similar regulations for the banking sector were laid out last week by the CBE. Other decisions taken by the cabinet include:

  • Approving a USD 3.5 mn grant from USAID to help fund small farmers and setting up commercial avenues for them to market their crops.
  • Approving a USD 550k grant from the African Development Bank aimed for supporting entrepreneurship initiatives.

Egypt to decide next year whether to join the global rush to digital currencies: Feasibility studies for Egypt's digital currency are expected to be completed next year by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), Ehab Nasr, assistant sub governor for payment systems and business technology, told Al Mal. Nasr said an undisclosed international organization has been working with the CBE on the study, which will assess the technical, regulatory and legislative requirements necessary to set up a digital currency. It is still not clear whether the proposed currency would be used only in inter-bank transactions or made available for public use.

Background: As we highlighted last week, central banks across the world are grappling with the rising interest in digital currencies as a medium of exchange, and some are working to establish their own. Hussein first hinted back in October 2018 that the CBE was one of the banks looking to launch its own digital currency, stating a few months later that the initiative was part of plans to move towards a cashless society.

What’s driving Egypt’s 5.6% GDP growth in 1Q2019-2020? The retail, agriculture, industrial, real estate, and telecoms sectors contributed the most to Egypt’s 5.6% GDP growth registered in 1Q2019-20, Planning Minister Hala El Said told cabinet yesterday. The sectors contributed to about 56% of Egypt’s GDP growth this quarter. She also noted that tourism, construction, manufacturing, and energy were the fastest growing sectors so far in the current fiscal year. She stressed that 5.6% so far in the year is not bad considering that global GDP growth is projected to come in at around 3% in 2019.

Who’s creating jobs? The construction, manufacturing, logistics and transportation sections appear to be the biggest hirers of 4Q2018-2019, with El Said naming them as the biggest contributor to Egypt’s falling in unemployment rate. Unemployment fell to 7.5% during 4Q2018-2019, from 9.9% in the same period last year.

Egypt’s non-oil exports rose 5% in 1Q2019-2020, while imports apparently plunged 13%, according to El Said, who didn’t provide specific figures. This contributed to the non-oil trade balance narrowing by 22%. Egypt’s non-oil trade widened by 13.4% to USD 38 bn in FY2018-2019.

There’ll be 132 mn of us by 2030: El Said cited population growth as one of the biggest hurdles to development, stating that the population will balloon to 132.3 mn Egyptians by 2030, from 100 mn today — and that’s assuming that the current population growth rate doesn’t increase.

Egypt has work to do to better capitalize on its growth drivers: Egypt is not positioning itself to capitalize on the traditional drivers of development and harness disruptive forces, according to an overview of The New Economy Drivers and Disrupters report featured in Bloomberg. The report measures and ranks the performance of 114 countries in terms of their labor force, investment and productivity, as well as their adaptation to populism, protectionism, automation, digitization and climate change. The higher the country’s score, the better chances it has to develop, and the more prepared it is for disruptions. Egypt scores poorly for the ability to capitalize on economic drivers, with a low score of 33.5, and a ranking of 112 out of 114 economies. We fare somewhat better under exposure to disruptors, scoring 44.8 and achieving a ranking of 82.

Drivers and disruptors — breaking down Egypt’s score: When it comes to development drivers, Egypt scores highly under demographics (66.5) and catch-up potential (79.6), but doesn’t do well for investment (17.6) or productivity (25.7). We have taken steps to mitigate the fallout from global protectionism (scoring 56.4) and climate change (achieving a score of 54.5), but are seemingly not so well prepared to tackle the impacts of populism (34.5) or seize on the economic potential of digitization (34) or automation (which we don’t even get a score for).

At the regional level, we are trailing behind some of our peers. Tunisia, for example, is outperforming us quite significantly when it comes to investment and productivity, and is more able to mitigate the disruption from populism and climate change. Jordan exhibits a similar pattern, and while it underperforms a little in digitization compared to Egypt, it still exceeds us in catch-up potential. The UAE, meanwhile, is streets ahead of us when it comes to disruption preparedness, as well as in investment and productivity — although we do have the edge when it comes to demographics and catch-up potential. Both Morocco and Algeria outperform us quite significantly in areas including investment, productivity, automation (in Morocco’s case alone) and even preparedness for climate change.

The report has some big picture takeaways: Low and middle-income economies are particularly vulnerable to disruptions to the global economy, and the process of “catching up” (moving to high-income status) is getting harder for everyone. Rising protectionism is hampering access to global markets, while increasing populism impacts policy decisions. Climate change will affect everything from access to clean water to maintaining infrastructure. Automation and digitalization both offer chances for low-income economies to increase productivity and fast-track development — but they could also marginalize some jobseekers and increase the divide between rich and poor. Only economies with an early and ambitious response to these challenges stand a real chance of moving up the value chain, the report says.

EARNINGS WATCH- Edita net profit jumps 19.2% y-o-y in 3Q2019: Leading snack food maker Edita’s net profit rose 19.2% y-o-y in the third quarter to EGP 106.6 mn, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues for the quarter reached EGP 1.09 bn, up 7% y-o-y. Commenting on the results, Chairman Hani Berzi said, “We are witnessing strong contributions from the croissant, rusks and wafer segments where new product launches are helping build an optimized product mix, driving higher utilization rates at our facilities and are strengthening Edita’s position in an increasingly competitive market.”

As for its regional expansion plans: Edita is moving forward with the construction of its new factory in Morocco, which is expected to break ground before the end of the year. Moroccan authorities have also stepped up their support of the project with a MAD 15 mn grant to the company as part of a local program to encourage FDI.

CORRECTION- We picked up a domestic press report on Tuesday claiming that real estate developer Misr Italia had hired EFG Hermes to conduct an asset valuation for the company. We yesterday learned that this is not true, and EFG Hermes has no involvement with the Misr Italia transaction. The story has since been updated on our website.

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Egypt in the News

It’s a fairly quiet morning in the foreign press: NATO member countries should support Egypt by providing non-military assistance — particularly in the challenging western desert area that borders Libya — as our security challenges cannot be tackled through military solutions alone, argues Amal Kandeel in the Atlantic Council. This approach would help counter radicalization and mitigate some of the damage caused by Nato’s ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, she argues.

Other stories of note:

  • Russia’s military drills in Egypt signals growing influence in Africa: The joint Egyptian-Russian air force drills held in Egypt this week are “the latest sign of Moscow’s deepening ties with African militaries,” John Vandiver writes for Stars and Stripes. The exercises come a week after President Vladimir Putin held the first Russia-Africa summit that sought to strengthen economic, investment and defense ties with the continent.
  • The crackdown on last month’s protests is continuing to get ink: The Washington Post interviews an American student detained for two days last month in the days after last month’s protests.

Worth Watching

EXPLAINER- What is the repo rate and why does it matter? The repo rate is a fundamental node in the financial world, yet many don’t quite what it is and why it matters. Luckily, the Wall Street Journal (watch, runtime: 5:01) is on hand with a simple five-minute explainer. The repo rate is the interest rate charged on overnight borrowing between financial institutions, with treasuries acting as collateral. Why does it matter? It’s the oil that keeps the engines of money flow moving, as large financial institutions often need to resort to it to sustain operations. The implications of this system clogging would be catastrophic for the economy.

It’s importance was most recently highlighted last month, on 17 and 18 September, overnight lenders raised the repo rate significantly, freezing the system. Banks have placed the blame squarely on liquidity requirements placed on banks following the global financial crisis, as they were not allowed to dip into their reserves to lend out. They’ve used the issue to step up demands that the US Federal Reserve cut back on these regulations. The Fed’s solution? Injecting liquidity to the tune of USD 120 bn a day.

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

Egypt seeks Nigeria’s help to resolve GERD: House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal requested that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari mediate the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Grand Etiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Nigeria’s vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, said on Twitter. The US has also called a meeting between the two countries and Sudan on 6 November. Egypt and Ethiopia agreed to resume talks to resolve the dispute at the recent conference in Sochi, Russia.

El Said pitches Al Habtoor to invest with SWF: Planning Minister Hala El Said met with UAE businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor of Al Habtoor Group to potentially invest in Egypt’s EGP 200 bn sovereign wealth fund, according to a cabinet statement. El Said noted that the fund is studying establishing a number of subsidiary funds in renewable energy, logistics, and manufacturing, while Al Habtoor expressed his desire to invest in Egypt. The SWF’s newly appointed CEO Ayman Soliman also began drumming up investor interest for the fund during the Egypt Can conference.

On the other side of the Red Sea, Saudi looks set to continue backing Egypt’s Sinai development plan: Investment Minister Sahar Nasr discussed support for the second phase of the government’s development plan for Sinai in a meeting with Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) CEO and Vice Chairman Khaled bin Salman Al Khudairi on the sidelines of the Future Investment Forum in Riyadh, the ministry said in a statement. The SFD provided USD 1.5 bn for the first phase to fund projects including King Salman University, King Salman Bridge (the proposed Egypt-Saudi causeway), and upgrades to Kasr El Aini hospital.

Energy

Egypt’s NUCA signs EGP 365 mn electromechanical work contract with Elsewedy Electric

Elsewedy Electric announced yesterday signing a new EGP 365 mn contract with the New Urban Communities Authority to develop the electromechanical works for tunneling 8-km high voltage cables connecting three substations in the new administrative capital, according to a disclosure to the EGX (pdf)

EETC inks transformer station and power purchase contracts

The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) signed a EGP 200 mn contract yesterday with a consortium of Chinese companies to set up the Al Naha transformer station in Cairo, company head Sabah Mashaly said. The consortium comprises China Energy Engineering Group Zhejiang Thermal Power Construction, Tebian Electric Apparatus (TBEA), and Hyosung Heavy Industries.

Separately, EETC has signed a power purchase agreement for Acwa Power’s Kom Ombo solar plant at USD 0.0248 per KwH, according to a cabinet statement. This is lower than the USD 0.0275 per KwH price originally targeted by the Saudi company when it submitted its tender for the plant earlier this year.

On Your Way Out

Egyptian healthtech startup TakeStep will be one of five African healthcare companies to exhibit at next month’s Web Summit 2019 in Lisbon, the company said in a statement (pdf). The technology conference will bring together corporate leaders, senior policymakers and more than 3k startups over four days starting 4 November. TakeStep is a tech play focused on substance addiction with a web platform provides fast access to psychiatric help and monitors the patient’s progress to prevent relapse.

My Morning Routine

Nada El Ahwal, corporate development director at IACC Holdings: 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 just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Nada El Ahwal, corporate development director at IACC Holdings, a privately-owned investment company that focuses on shipping and logistics.

My name is Nada El Ahwal. I’m 30 years old and I’m the corporate development director at IACC Holdings. This is a family business and I’m the third generation to work in it.

IACC Holdings plays a leading role investing in and developing the regional and global supply chain for shipping and logistics. We own and operate five subsidiary companies along the shipping supply chain. My role is to prototype, design and oversee anything new in the group, which could include new companies, new projects, new investments, bringing on board new people, putting new corporate structures in place, and so on. It might sound like a solo job, but I work through our management teams when it comes to nearly everything that we do.

It took hard work to train myself to be a morning person, but I essentially bribed myself with endorphins so I’d be motivated to exercise first thing in the day. Then I committed to a gym trainer to make myself more accountable. Starting my day with a workout really helps me manage my energy. I’m guilty of checking my notifications when I first wake up, but I try not to open or respond to any emails or texts until after I’ve finished my workout. Afterwards, I read Enterprise religiously for the local news, and listen to the FT news briefing podcast to get a rundown of the global news, all of which is an essential part of my morning, along with my first coffee.

Then I dial in to our daily huddle to check in with the management team, who join the call from various offices. We give our updates and discuss any prospective challenges we’ll be facing that day. I find that this really sets the tone for the day in terms of showing me where I need to direct my attention. It’s proven an amazing way of getting everybody aligned and engaged — myself included.

Given the nature of my work, no two days ever look the same. I try to divide my day into 30 minute slots for meetings, updates, emails and even lunch time. I’m notorious for being very punctual; we have a rule at the office that anyone who joins a meeting late will pay EGP 10 for every minute they’re late. Any money collected goes towards our social impact project: Education First.

Shipping is by definition an international industry, so naturally it involves a lot of travel. The increase in online meetings has been a game changer, allowing us to stay on top of things no matter where we are.

I enjoy reading and watching things that expose me to new ideas and tell interesting stories. So I was recently flicking through Netflix and came across the documentary Inside Bill’s Brain, which aims to give an inside view of the mind and motivations of Bill Gates. Then I ended up watching all three episodes in one sitting. He’s such an inspiring and humble man, and I found it fascinating to see how he breaks down big global problems in a bid to find solutions for them — and how often he succeeds. I also recently started the book Shoe Dog, which tells the story of Nike. I was on a long haul flight, and found I couldn’t put it down. The book is definitely worth the hype; it’s truly an inspiring story of resilience.

IACC started 40 years ago as a port operator and stevedore, but it quickly expanded to cover all areas of the maritime supply chain, and beyond that, to transportation at large. For 20 years, we were in a joint venture with the German freight forwarder Kuehne & Nagel. Being a serial entrepreneur, my grandfather also founded Egypt’s first privately-owned cargo airline, in the early ‘80s. This connected Egypt to key European airports and enabled perishable or high value goods to be moved easily.

Today, we’re a holding company that operates Egypt’s sole shipping container line (Transmar), as well as a stevedoring and warehousing company (TCI), an inland trucking company (Transland), a shipping agency (Safina), and our latest project: IACC Logistics, which is a freight forwarder with global reach.

Across all our companies, IACC competes with giants — by which I mean multinationals with a robust support network and a global presence. As a niche operator, our size is a key part of the competitive advantage we can offer. Multinationals, we’ve discovered, love working with small service providers like us, because we take the time to understand their business model, their incentives and their KPIs. We direct all our efforts to helping them expand their presence and improve their business prospects. Other multinationals simply can’t afford to invest that time in understanding their customers and catering to their needs. With this in mind, one of our core company principles is to walk in the shoes of our customers. We hire, promote, train and retain our people based on our principles, and this specifically feeds right into our niche area, so it’s especially important for us to foster that mindset in everyone who works with us.

Many people don’t know that Egypt had a dedicated shipping line that started in the 80s. We ran our own fleet, and we supported trade flow in the Arabian Gulf, all the way down to South Africa. Our headquarters has always been in Cairo, while other shipping lines simply have agencies here. Granted, nationalism doesn’t — and shouldn’t — play a role in business decision-making, but I think it’s a source of pride for the business community to know that this service has existed here for some time.

One big external challenge that the industry faces is the government perception of shipping as an impediment to exporting, when in fact we are also exporters. We offer a global service, bringing home foreign currency that stays here rather than being remitted internationally. Offering incentives for local shipping operators and investors is a great way to promote Egypt’s exporting of goods and services. We also know that there are impressive incentive packages for foreign investors in the logistics space, and we would love for the same sentiment to be extended to Egyptian operators and investors too.

I also love traveling, and I’ll jump on a plane as often as I can to explore as much as possible. I usually set myself a personal goal of traveling to two new cities or countries every year.

Staying organized is a constant work in progress. My team hate it, but I use Outlook’s follow up reminders for nearly every email I send, so that no ball is dropped. Otherwise, I rely on Siri. I ask her to remind me for everything — literally, everything.

In general, I try to free my mental bandwidth to think and process ideas, rather than retaining useless information. So I’m all for using any tool that can remind me to follow up on what needs to be followed up on. And, of course, writing everything down.

I believe that everyone you meet in life has something to teach you, and that there’s always something you can teach them too. One of the things that really stuck with me was something a professor in business school once said: People don’t leave organizations, people leave people. This really sparked a paradigm shift for me, and helped me to not only invest in my own leadership development, but to think about how I could impart as much as possible to my team on how to be leaders who can then inspire others.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 16.08 | Sell 16.20
EGP / USD at CIB:
Buy 16.09 | Sell 16.19
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 16.09 | Sell 16.19

EGX30 (Wednesday): 14,478 (+0.1%)
Turnover: EGP 835 mn (16% above the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +11.1%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 0.1%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 0.4%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals up 12.2%, AMOC up 2.8%, and Qalaa Holdings up 2.4%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were Egyptian Iron & Steel down 1.9%, Ezz Steel down 1.6% and Orascom Investment Holding down 1.4%. The market turnover was EGP 835 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +39.7 mn
Regional: Net short | EGP -30.6 mn
Domestic: Net short | EGP -9.0 mn

Retail: 67.9% of total trades | 68.3% of buyers | 67.5% of sellers
Institutions: 32.1% of total trades | 31.7% of buyers | 32.5% of sellers

WTI: USD 54.92 (-0.3%)
Brent: USD 60.61 (-1.6%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.69 MMBtu, (+0.0%, December 2019 contract)
Gold: USD 1,497.60 / troy ounce (+0.1%)

TASI: 7,792 (+1.3%) (YTD: -0.4%)
ADX: 5,173 (+2.0%) (YTD: +5.3%)
DFM: 2,754 (+0.6%) (YTD: +8.9%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,230 (-0.8%)
QE: 10,283 (+0.6%) (YTD: -0.2%)
MSM: 4,012 (+0.2%) (YTD: -7.2%)
BB: 1,522 (-0.2%) (YTD: +13.8%)

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Calendar

October: A forum will be organized by Russia’s Rosatom and the Nuclear Power Plants Authority to introduce local suppliers and contractors to the Dabaa nuclear plant.

October: German businessman delegation will visit Egypt to discuss good projects in order to spend German funds into Egypt.

October: A delegation of 40-50 Saudi companies will visit Egypt to discuss increasing exports of Egyptian furniture.

23 October-1 November (Wednesday-Friday): CIB PSA Women’s World Championship, Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo.

28 October-22 November (Monday-Friday): World Radiocommunication Conference 2019, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

28 October-31 October (Monday-Thursday): A Cairo court will rule on the stock manipulation case, in which Gamal and Alaa Mubarak are involved, along with seven other defendants.

29-30 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review key interest rates.

29-30 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): South Sudan Oil & Power (SSOP) Conference, Juba, South Sudan.

29-30 October (Tuesday- Wednesday): 10th African Food Day Conference, Cairo, Egypt

31 October-2 November (Thursday-Saturday): Angel Oasis 2019, organized by the Middle East Angel Investment Network (MAIN), El Gouna, Egypt.

November: Suez Canal Conference for Investment, organized in cooperation with the European Union

November: The government will host the Egypt Economic Summit with 40 speakers and experts across all economic fields to discuss the country’s vision post the IMF program.

November: British Egyptian Business Association’s Annual door knock mission, United Kingdom.

November: ITIDA to announce the winning bid in a tender to manage three new innovation centers.

3 November (Sunday): Real Estate Debate 2019 Conference – Catalysts for Growth in 2020, Cairo Marriott Hotel.

4 November (Sunday): Saudi Arabia’s Capital Markets Authority is set to announce the start of the IPO process (expected).

3-5 November (Sunday-Tuesday): Electrix 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

4 November (Monday): Narrative PR Summit, Hilton Heliopolis, Cairo.

4-6 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt’s Chamber of Tourism Establishments will participate in the UK’s World Travel Market (WTM) event in London.

7 November (Thursday): AmCham will hold the Prosper Africa Event.

7-9 November (Thursday-Saturday): BiznEx Egypt 2019, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

8-22 November: Egypt will host Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations 2019.

9 November (Saturday): Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, national holiday.

9-11 November (Saturday-Monday): Vested Summit, Sahl Hasheesh, Red Sea.

10-14 November (Sunday-Thursday): GeoMEast International Congress and Exhibition, Marriott, Cairo.

11-13 November (Monday-Wednesday): Africa Investment Forum, Gauteng, South Africa.

12 November (Tuesday): Egypt Economic Summit, venue TBA.

13-15 November (Wednesday-Friday): Africa Early Stage Investor Summit, Cape Town, South Africa.

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

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Machtech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Transpotech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

14-17 November (Thursday-Sunday): Airtech Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

17 November (Sunday): The share price for the Aramco IPO will be announced (expected).

18 November (Monday): AmCham’s US-Egypt Proposer Forum in Cairo. US trade delegation visits Cairo to discuss investments in health, energy and information technology as part of the gathering.

20-29 November (Wednesday-Friday): Cairo International Film Festival, Cairo Opera House, Egypt, Cairo, Egypt.

20 November (Wednesday): The Investment Ministry and the Islamic Development Bank will organize the “leaders for change” startup competition as part of the Fekretak Sherketak initiative, location TBD, Cairo, Egypt.

22-23 November (Friday-Saturday): Invest in Africa 2019 conference, New Administrative Capital.

23 November (Saturday): HHD extraordinary general assembly to approve the 10% stake + management request for proposal

24 November (Sunday): Arabia Investments lawsuit against French Peugeot (after being postponed)

25 November (Monday): Global Trade Matters international dialogue on climate neutrality, Marriott, Cairo.

December: Egypt will host for the first time the Pack Process trade expo for the Middle East and African region.

December: Indian automotive delegation to visit Egypt

1-4 December (Sunday-Wednesday): E-payment and Innovative Financial Inclusion Expo and Forum (PAFIX), Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

3-6 December (Tuesday-Friday): Cairo WoodShow, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

4 December (Wednesday): Subscription to the Aramco IPO will begin (expected).

5-7 December (Thursday-Saturday): RiseUp Summit, American University in Cairo, New Cairo Campus

8 December (Sunday): Pitch by the Pyramids, Giza Pyramids

9-11 December (Monday-Wednesday): Pacprocess Middle East Africa, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

9-11 December (Monday-Wednesday): Food Africa 2019 Expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

10-11 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

11 December (Wednesday): First day of trading on the Aramco IPO (expected)

12-14 December (Thursday-Saturday): 16 Egyptian real estate development companies will showcase their products at IPS Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

14-17 December (Saturday-Tuesday): World Youth Forum 2019, Sharm El Sheikh.

26 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee will meet to review interest rates.

January 2020: 2019 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards, Albatros Citadel Resort, Hurghada, Egypt.

January 2020: UK-Africa Investment summit, London, United Kingdom.

9-12 January 2020 (Tuesday-Sunday): PLASTEX, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

25 January 2020 (Saturday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day, national holiday.

25 January 2020 (Saturday): Midterm break for public schools and universities. Also known as: Two weeks of good commute.

February 2020: An Italian business delegation will visit Egypt to discuss investments in the Port Said industrial zone.

8 February 2020 (Saturday): Midterm break ends. Traffic in Cairo stinks once more.

11-13 February 2020 (Tuesday-Thursday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

March 2020: The Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) will visit Egypt to assess the progress of actions taken to combat money laundering and terrorist sponsoring activities.

4-5 March 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Women Economic Forum, Cairo.

25-26 March 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Mega Projects Conference, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Nasr City, Cairo.

23 April 2020 (Thursday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

23-26 May 2020 (Saturday-Tuesday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

5-7 May 2020 (Tuesday-Thursday): AFSIC – Investing in Africa, London, United Kingdom.

30 June 2020 (Sunday): June 2013 protests anniversary, national holiday.

November 2020: Egypt will host simultaneously the International Capital Market Association’s emerging market, and Africa and Middle East meetings.

30 July 2020-3 August 2020 (Thursday-Monday): Eid El Adha (TBC), national holiday.

19-20 August 2020 (Wednesday-Thursday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

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