Thursday, 28 November 2019

Corporate earnings are back to pre-EGP float levels in USD terms, making Egyptian equities among the lowest-priced in EM

TL;DR

What We’re Tracking Today

Good morning, friends, and Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers — as well as to folks who are simply declaring themselves American for the day to enjoy good food and / or hang with the kid at home, in the event said kid goes to an American school and has the day off.

You can expect quieter day than usual in global markets today: US markets are closed today and re-open at the usual time tomorrow for a shortened trading day.

You can also expect chaos at the malls tomorrow, as Egypt again full-throatedly embraces Black Friday.

We’re less certain when you can expect a cabinet shuffle: Sixteen governorates got new leaders yesterday, some new faces and others existing office-holders who were reassigned, but there was no sign of the shakeup around the cabinet table that has dominated headlines this week. The story dominated the airwaves last night, so we have detail in Last Night’s Talk Shows and in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

The House of Representatives returns from recess today for an extraordinary session to discuss Tarek Amer’s reappointment to a second term as governor of the Central Bank of Egypt. But don’t expect MPs to debate a cabinet shuffle: Rep. Ehab El Tamawy said earlier this week that the session is unlikely to extend that far.

Next week is shaping up to be a busy one, with the nation possibly making sense of a cabinet shuffle at the same time as:

  • The annual RiseUp Summit kicks off a week from tomorrow at the AUC new campus in New Cairo. The startupfest will run through Saturday, 7 December. Tap or click here for the full agenda. RiseUp will be followed by a regional Pitch by the Pyramids competition.
  • China’s Dongfeng Motor Corporation will be in town next week to discuss the possibility of manufacturing electric cars in cooperation with state-owned El Nasr Automotive, according to a Public Enterprises Ministry statement (pdf).
  • The purchasing managers’ index for Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia will be released on Tuesday, 3 December at 6:15am CLT.
  • The Central Bank of Egypt is expected to release net foreign reserves figures for November on Wednesday, 4 December.
  • Monthly inflation figures for November are due on Tuesday, 10 December.

enterprise

The second episode of Making It, our new podcast is coming up — some readers will get a chance to listen this afternoon, others tomorrow at 8am, as we test to see when you folks most want to hear from us on that front. This week’s guests are a husband and wife team who are building a business together that’s pushing the limits of artificial intelligence.

Did you miss our first episode with Jalal Abu Gazaleh, CEO of Gourmet Egypt? Listen here on our website or find us on Apple Podcast or Google Podcast.

enterprise

FINANCE STORY OF THE MORNING: In a challenge to the primacy of IPOs, companies may be able to soon raise capital through direct listings: The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are both looking at changes to their listing rules that would allow companies to raise capital through direct listings. If the proposals go through, companies could have a second path through which to raise capital — one that might be less expensive and faster than an IPO in some circumstances, according to the Financial Times. NYSE has already put forward changes to its listing rules that would set a minimum of USD 250 mn for primary direct floor listings, and is currently waiting on approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Nasdaq said its own proposal is coming soon.

The story is also getting plenty of ink from the global business press: Bloomberg | Wall Street Journal | CNBC.

In a direct listing, companies “simply” list their shares on an exchange without raising capital — it’s a move that allows existing shareholders to sell into the market, and new shareholders to buy from them. Companies need at least 400 shareholders as the rules stand now before they can do a direct listing.

The transaction became popular after Slack and Spotify tried it — and as some quarters of finance criticized investment bankers for “mispricing” offerings that resulted in sellers taking haircuts (too much of a first day “pop” in shares) or buyers taking on over-hyped, overvalued shares (share price tanks out of the gate).

The guys who have done two of three direct listings on the NYSE aren’t sure that this is going to upend the traditional IPO model, with Davis Polk writing in a short (and well worth reading) note to clients (pdf) that “underwritten IPOs are still expected to remain attractive to most companies, particularly as “traditional IPOs allow stable, long-term holders to buy a significant stake in a company, which may not be possible in a direct listing.

Don’t cry for the investment bankers, Davis Polk suggest: “While there would be no underwritten IPO or underwriters [in an IPO] … existing rules do require that investment banks participate as financial advisors and accept underwriter liability, so that the basic registration and due diligence process will remain largely as it is for underwritten offerings.”


PSA- Leave those winter clothes in the closet for another few days: The Egyptian Meteorological Authority says warm temperatures will continue today and tomorrow.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Yesterday’s appointment of 16 governors and 23 deputies dominated the airwaves. Four of the 16 governors were transferred to new governorates, while 12 were new appointments. We have the story in this morning’s Speed Round, below. Al Watan also has the story.

Most talk shows devoted lengthy segments to the story. All 23 deputy governors are young hires, seven of whom are women, Al Hayah Al Youm’s Khaled Abu Bakr said (watch, runtime: 5:08), noting that some had previously taken part in Presidential Leadership Programs geared toward the youth, and have diverse backgrounds. Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan narrated the story largely along the same lines (watch, runtime: 9:32).

Interviews and phone-ins with the new deputies were the order of the night. All the talk shows provided a platform for various deputy governors to introduce themselves to the nation and declare their ambitions while in office. Giza deputy governor Ibrahim Nagy told Ramy Radwan that his priority is to work on improving government services (watch, runtime: 5:03), while South Sinai deputy Enas Hafez said her aim is to improve Egypt’s Human Development Index in an interview with Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer (watch, runtime: 3:19). Meanwhile, Alexandria’s new deputy governor, Jakleen Azer, phoned in to TeN TV (watch, runtime: 5:12).

A “very big” cabinet reshuffle: “The cabinet reshuffle will be very big, contrary to what’s being propagated [in the media],” Bakryman (whose alter alter ego is MP Moustafa Bakry) said in a phone call on TeN TV (watch, runtime: 2:55). “A lot of what’s being published in the media about the shuffle isn’t accurate enough,” he added. Although Bakry didn’t provide a figure, parliamentary sources spoken to by Sherif Amer — including Deputy Speaker Soliman Wahdan — said to expect between eight and 10 changes (watch, runtime: 3:27).

Diversity in the cabinet: Politician Moustafa El Feki told Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer that the expected cabinet shuffle should preserve, if not increase, the current level of female representation in government (watch, runtime: 1:35). Women, El Feki says, are less prone to “financial and managerial” corruption than men. El Feki also sees more room for Coptic Christian ministers around the cabinet table. Bakry, meanwhile, hinted that we could be seeing more younger faces around the cabinet table after the shuffle.

Also getting some airtime: A death sentence handed to terrorist Hisham Ashmawy by a military court for attempted murder and terrorism featured on Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 9:20), Masaa DMC (runtime: 6:51), and Yahduth Fi Misr (watch, runtime). The story got plenty of digital ink in foreign news outlets this morning: We have the latest in Egypt in the News, below.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Corporate earnings have bounced back to pre-float levels in USD terms three years after the Central Bank of Egypt pulled the trigger on floating the EGP, Bloomberg says. Corporations are now “reaping the benefits” of the float after earnings initially took on the chin as inflation soared to highs of 33%. Now, with inflation decelerating rapidly, FX reserves at an all-time high, and the economy growing at more than 5.6% this year, earnings are catching up. This change “reflect[s] the adjustment the economy has gone through and investors’ improved perception” of the country, says Andrew Schultz, head of Africa strategy and sales at Investec Bank.

Egyptian equities are now really worth a look, Bloomberg argues: “Rising profit expectations are making Egyptian stocks [less expensive] to own. The EGX 30 Index trades at 8.3 times projected 12-month earnings, one of the lowest valuations in emerging markets.”

IPO WATCH- Market regulator gives Rameda green light on public subscription notice: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has approved Rameda Pharma’s public subscription notice (pdf) to local investors for its initial public offering on the EGX, according to a statement to the bourse (pdf). Rameda has announced (pdf) that it will offer 376,606,000 shares at a price of EGP 4.66 per ordinary share in its IPO.

Greville Investing, the selling shareholder, will offer 357,775,700 shares to institutional investors in an international offering, while the remainder are earmarked for retail investors in Egypt. You can find more information in the company’s intention to float (pdf) from last month.

The subscription period for the transacation’s retail offering is set to begin today, an unnamed company official tells Reuters. Trading is expected to get underway on 11 December under the ticker RMDA.

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

M&A WATCH- Adeptio says FRA’s rejection of MTO for Americana Egypt “unjustifiable,” could resort to legal action: The Financial Regulatory Authority’s (FRA) rejection of Gulf investment outfit Adeptio’s mandatory tender offer (MTO) to acquire the Egyptian International Tourism Projects Company (Americana) last week is “unjustifiable,” Adeptio said in a statement yesterday (pdf). The company says the MTO it presented, which was prepared by a financial consultant “endorsed by the FRA,” offered to buy Americana’s stakes at a fair value. Adeptio suggested in the statement that the FRA’s decision was influenced by “systematic and negative media campaigns launched against the company” and called on the market regulator to reassess its decision based on the provisions of Egyptian law.

Adeptio is now looking into taking legal action, saying it will “spare no effort to escalate the issue to the highest authorities” should a settlement agreement fail to materialize. The company maintains that it has cooperated with the FRA on its previous decisions on the matter, which Adeptio says is an indicator of its “confidence” and “commitment” to its investments in Egypt.

Background: Adeptio acquired 67% in Kuwait Food Company (Americana) in June 2016 following a two-year process, giving it indirect ownership of the majority of Americana Egypt. The FRA then ordered Adeptio to submit an MTO to buy the remaining shares in Americana Egypt earlier this year and cover the 9.563% of Americana that Adeptio doesn’t already own, but Adeptio had argued that its indirect ownership in the company is less than 90% of its total capital and therefore does not require an MTO submission. Adeptio submitted an appeal against the order, which the FRA promptly rejected. The company then filed a suit with an economic court challenging the FRA’s rejection, but the court also dismissed the appeal. Adeptio then submitted an MTO for Americana, offering EGP 3.90 per share, which the FRA said was was too low an offer. Americana’s minority shareholders had previously signaled they would only be satisfied with an offer in the range of EGP 24 / share. The FRA obliged Adeptio to hire a new independent financial consultant and present a fresh fair value report within one month.

DISPUTE WATCH- Court rejects Acumen Holding’s lawsuit against FRA boss for reputational damage: A Giza court rejected yesterday a EGP 20 mn lawsuit filed by Acumen Holding against Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) Chairman Mohamed Omran for alleged reputational damage, according to Al Mal. The company had demanded compensation for harm it claimed was caused to its reputation as a result of an FRA ban in 2017 that was later overruled, Acumen Chairman Rana Adawi said in July.

Background: An administrative court in June overturned the FRA’s decision to ban Acumen from buying Egypt Gas shares for three months and ordered the regulator to pay EGP 30k in compensation. The FRA had banned Acumen in October 2017 after alleging that Egypt Gas shares had been subject to stock manipulation. Acumen had denied the allegations and challenged the FRA’s decision.

Omran is cruising through lawsuits this week: The Kerdasa Misdemeanors Court has declined to hear a separate lawsuit filed against Omran and two of his deputies, Khalid El Nashar and Reza Abdel Moaty, by Raya Holding. The court said the case did not fall within its jurisdiction, according to Al Mal.

Background: The FRA had initially filed a lawsuit against Raya Holding’s Chairman Medhat Khalil in May alleging that he failed to pay an EGP 11 mn fine handed out after he exceeded the maximum ownership limit in Raya without making a mandatory tender offer (MTO). Khalil, who was seeking to reduce or overturn the fine, had requested that the dispute resolution committee act as the mediator, to which the FRA insisted that its own committee should mediate the dispute, and a new dispute arose back in July.

DISPUTE WATCH- Emaar signs settlement agreement with NUCA to move ahead with West Cairo project: Emaar Misr has signed a final agreement with the New Urban Communities Authority to settle a dispute with the authority and purchase land surrounding its planned Cairo Gate compound in Sheikh Zayed, according to a cabinet statement. The dispute occurred after Emaar was found to be using land allocated for agriculture on the Cairo-Alexandria desert road for its residential project, paying cheaper prices for the plots as a result, Sheikh Zayed City Development Authority head Mostafa Fahmy said earlier this week.

The settlement: Emaar has agreed to purchase the land at residential prices, and buy back a 68.5 feddan external plot it had earlier ceded to the authority for roads and infrastructure works. The company will also purchase another 52.4 feddans in the area to add to the compound. The local press later in the day quoted Housing Ministry sources as saying Emaar will pay EGP 1 bn for both land plots.

A second agreement signed yesterday will see Emaar allocated another 500 feddans for a separate project, the statement notes. The project, for which little details were provided, is larger than Cairo Gate and is expected to cost 37.8 bn. The sources who spoke to the local press said the allocation will cost the company EGP 5 bn.

M&A WATCH- Ezz Steel board approves selling its shares in Ezz Rolling Mills to Ezz Dekheila: Ezz Steel’s board of directors has signed off on selling north of 88 mn of its shares in Ezz Rolling Mills (ERM) through a share swap with Ezz Dekheila Steel, the parent company said in a disclosure to the bourse (pdf). The transaction will see 51 shares of ERM swapped for every Ezz Dekheila share. Ezz Dekheila had presented a mandatory tender offer to acquire 100% of ERM earlier this month, which the FRA greenlit.

STARTUP WATCH- Cairo-based indoor advertising platform Adzily has raised USD 12.2 mn in funding from Saudi-based Al Tharawat Private Investment Holding Company, marking the company’s first external investment round, CEO Ahmed Ashoor tells MenaBytes. The startup will use the investment to finance planned expansions to Saudi Arabia. Adzily allows businesses to reach their audience through display screens and to get audience insights digitally.

REGULATION WATCH- VAT taxpayers can now apply for fast-track refunds: Taxpayers are now able to claim part of their VAT refunds in advance of the tax assessment after Finance Minister Mohamed Maait yesterday issued a decree amending the VAT Tax Act executive regulations, according to a Finance Ministry statement.

How do companies apply? Taxpayers must provide authorities with bank guarantees covering 65% of the proposed refund, and proof (i.e. purchase invoices, customs release forms) that they have paid the refundable amount.

When can they expect to receive the refund? If approved, taxpayers will receive a refund equal to the bank guarantee within 15 days of submission. A three-month window would then be allowed to file the remaining paperwork, after which the Tax Authority will assess the tax return and pay out the remaining refund within six months. Companies with prior history of tax evasion will not be eligible.

Background: The cabinet’s economic group approved the changes in a meeting earlier this month in response to investor complaints that tax refunds take too much time.

CABINET WATCH- Gov’t to set up joint committees at customs entry points: The Madbouly Cabinet has approved a proposal to set up permanent joint committees to inspect imports and exports at all entry and exit points, according to a statement out following the weekly cabinet meeting. The committees will bring together officials from the Customs Authority, Food Safety Authority, General Organization For Export and Import Control, and other other customs and border officers. The government is currently working on a package of amendments to the Customs Act aimed largely at expediting clearance.

Also approved during the meeting:

  • Plans to set up two private, non-profit universities in Rashid and New Heliopolis. Rasheed University and City University of Cairo will be offering engineering, business, medicine, and liberal arts courses;
  • An agreement with Telecom Egypt to extend fiber optics to the Canal cities, Luxor, and Aswan. Fiber optic cables will be laid first in Port Said, and then in Ismailia, Suez, Luxor, and Aswan to support Egypt’s digitization drive; and
  • Plans to set up a public charity fund for projects to benefit science, culture, healthcare, rural infrastructure and slums development, and street children.

El Sisi swears in 12 new governors, shuffles four ahead of impending cabinet shuffle: A total of 16 governors were officially sworn in yesterday in what pundits expect was the first move of a shakeup that will extend to a cabinet shuffle. Notably, the governors of Cairo and Giza remain in office.

What changed? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi appointed new governors or reassigned incumbents in Alexandria, Qalyubia, Kafr El Sheikh, Assiut, Fayoum, Gharbia, Sohag, Qena, Matrouh, Ismailia, Aswan, the Red Sea, Menoufia, Beni Suef, Minya, and Dakahlia, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Of the 16 appointees, 11 have a background in the state security apparatus or the army, according to Ahram Online. The new lineup also includes 23 deputy governors, seven of whom are women and most of whom qualify as “young,” Al Masry Al Youm notes.

Job creation and improving health and education are top priorities, El Sisi told the new and reassigned governors in a meeting that followed their swearing-in, Ittihadiya said.

MOVES- Egyptian Arab Land Bank (EALB) Chairman Amr Kamal (Linkedin) has resigned from his position and nominated Vice Chairman Medhat Kamar (LinkedIn) as his successor, according to a Central Bank of Egypt statement (pdf). Kamal has been EALB’s chairman since October 2017. His current term should have ended in seven months.

MOVES- UAE flag carrier Emirates has appointed Ibrahim Ghanem (LinkedIn) as country manager for Egypt and Libya, according to a statement seen by Al Mal. Ghanem, a senior executive who joined Emirates’ managers’ training program after graduation five years ago, said Egypt is an important and growing market for the company.

CORRECTION- We incorrectly said in yesterday’s issue that Shalakany Law Firm advised Hassan Allam Holding on its USD 20 mn loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Shalakany was actually legal counsel to EBRD. The story has since been corrected on our website.

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The Macro Picture

EM renewable energy investment down 20% in 2018 -BloombergNEF: New renewable energy investment in emerging markets fell to USD 133 bn in 2018, down from USD 169 bn the previous year, according to a Climatescope report (pdf) by BloombergNEF. The drop-off in investment occurred in the three biggest markets: China, India and Brazil. China — which accounts for two-thirds of all green investment in EMs — was the biggest contributor, with investment falling by USD 36 bn to USD 86 bn. Financing in India fell by USD 2.4 bn and Brazil by USD 2.7 bn.

It’s a different story outside the big three markets: Green investment rose USD 4 bn to USD 34 bn in other EMs, led by Vietnam, South Africa, Mexico and Morocco. Solar and wind both saw record levels of investment, hitting USD 19 bn up from only USD 5 bn in 2013.

Record FDI in clean energy: Foreign direct investment into clean energy sources hit record levels last year, rising to USD 24.4 bn from USD 22.4 bn in 2017. More than half of this came from EU-based financial institutions, companies and private equity. Development banks were the biggest source of funding, providing USD 6.5 bn to EMs last year.

Egypt in the News

Topping coverage on Egypt in the foreign press: A military court has sentenced terrorist Hisham Ashmawy to death after he was found guilty of 14 counts including attempted murder of former Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim and leading terror group Ansar Beit El-Maqdis. Ashmawy, an Egyptian national, was also convicted of taking part in attacks on cargo ships in the Suez canal in 2013 and on security forces and checkpoints around the same time. The special forces officer-turned-terrorist was captured in Derna in 2018 by troops commanded by Libyan National Army chief Gen. Khalifa Haftar, and flown back to Egypt in May. (ReutersAssociated PressBloombergBBCXinhua)

Human rights is also on the agenda again, with a new report published by Amnesty International. The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse picked up the report. Human Rights Watch was also out with a statement yesterday on the periodic review of Egypt’s human rights situation at a UN council in Geneva.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is calling on the Egyptian government to release three journalists who were reportedly detained in Dokki on Tuesday. The reported arrests came after three journalists from Mada Masr were briefly detained when their office was raided by police earlier this week.

Tourism

EU aviation authority extends warning against flying over Egypt’s Sinai

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has extended its warning against flying over the Sinai peninsula, just weeks before flights between the UK and Sharm El Sheikh are due to resume, the Independent reports. The notice, which warns pilots of “dedicated anti-aviation weaponry,” will remain in place until 30 March 2020.

Telecoms + ICT

CIT Ministry looking to double telecoms’ share of Egyptian GDP

The Communications Ministry is planning to double the telecommunications sector’s contribution to Egypt’s GDP to 8% in FY2019-2020, from 4% during the last fiscal year, Minister Amr Talaat said, according to Al Shorouk.

Banking + Finance

FRA approves EFG’s request to suspend bond trading arm

The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has approved a request from EFG Hermes’ to suspend for one year one of its fixed income trading subsidiaries, according to an FRA statement (pdf). EFG Hermes had founded the subsidiary back some years ago, when it obtained a license for it. It had remained inactive since, with EFG Hermes’ general assembly voting to suspend the license.

 

CORRECTED on 28 November 2019

EFG Hermes had requested the suspension of one of its subsidiaries and not its entire fixed income trading business, as was previously reported. EFG Hermes had made the announcement through the Membership Management, which gives news to all listed brokers about other brokers and their subsidiaries and affiliates, and not through the EGX trading floor as was previously stated. Included context and background on the subsidiary. 

FRA approves Beltone Financial capital increase to pay off OIH debt

The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has approved Beltone Financial’s planned capital increase to EGP 898 mn from EGP 338 mn through a rights issue of 280 mn shares at EGP 2 apiece, according to a FRA disclosure to the EGX (pdf). The capital increase will allow Beltone to pay off the EGP 392 mn loan it had taken from Orascom Investment Holding to finance its 2016 acquisition of New York-based brokerage Auerbach Grayson.

CIB launches a full financing program for SMEs

CIB has launched a financing program tailored specifically for SMEs, according to Al Mal. The program offers medium- and long-term investments with repayment periods of up to five years, in addition to financing letters of guarantee and overdrafts worth up to EGP 30 mn.

Other Business News of Note

Italy’s Fisia Italimpianti to invest in Egypt’s sewage treatment plants

Italy’s Fisia Italimpianti, which designs, constructs, and manages water treatment and desalination plants, is eyeing potential investments in Egypt, the company’s business development officer Michele Magioncalda tells Al Mal. Fisia Italimpianti is looking at setting up sewage treatment plants in Alexandria and Al Gabal Al Asfar, Magioncalda said, without disclosing the expected investment value for the projects.

FinCorp appoints financial advisor for Kaha, Edfina merger

The Supply Ministry has appointed FinCorp Financial Advisory to act as the financial advisor to Kaha Preserved Foods and Edfina Preserved Foods merger, which comes as part of the government’s plans to restructure state-owned enterprises, according to Al Mal. A valuation of the two companies is underway and is expected to be completed in five months.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Egypt mulls maintaining anti-dumping fees on Chinese synthetic fiber blankets

The Trade and Industry Ministry is looking into keeping in place anti-dumping fees on synthetic fiber blankets imported from China, according to a ministry statement (pdf). Members of the Federation of Egyptian Industries have requested that the ministry refrain from lifting the tariffs, saying that doing so would result in the products being dumped in the Egyptian market again.

My Morning Routine

Farah Emara, co-founder and CEO of FreshSource: 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 Farah Emara, co-founder and CEO of FreshSource, which is setting out to upend crops are brought to market in Egypt.

I’m Farah Emara, I’m 28 years old and I’m the co-founder and CEO of FreshSource. FreshSource aims to change Egypt’s agriculture industry by streamlining the value chain through technology, integrating small-time farmers and reducing food loss. We are the region’s first platform for fresh fruits and vegetables, connecting farms to businesses and providing last-mile solutions.

My brother and co-founder, Omar, and I launched FreshSource in January 2019. As the region’s first tech-enabled agri-platform we have our work cut out for us. There are several key areas we are working on simultaneously. We spend a lot of time meeting with smallholder farmers across governorates throughout Egypt, introducing FreshSource. Other days are spent in our cold-storage processing facilities in Obour City, meeting with our grading and packaging team. Our head office is where we spend time setting strategies and working with our sales, finance, and customer service teams. Finally, we are also raising an investment round, so a lot of my time at the moment is spent meeting with investors who want to be part of that.

The fruit and vegetable industry is at its most active in the morning, so I wake up early — at around 7am — every day. I start the day by checking our communication channels and connecting with the team, then I read Enterprise to get the latest news. After that, I get up and walk my two beautiful dogs, Mocha and Yogi. Then I go to the gym at the Gezira Club to get some morning endorphins and grab a coffee. After that I either go into the office, or meet with investors elsewhere, or go to the farms or cold storage facilities.

As an entrepreneur, there is perhaps only one constant in your daily routine — and that is that every day is different. This is one of the most exciting aspects of this journey, and it’s what made my career shift from the corporate world a relatively easy decision to make. I usually leave the office at around 6pm, and head home where I can relax with my husband, Abdallah, or meet up with friends or family.

I love the podcast Startup Theory, and I recommend all entrepreneurs listen to it. Being an entrepreneur can sometimes be a lonely journey; I’m lucky enough to have my brother with me, but many other founders are going it alone. We usually only see the tip of the iceberg on media platforms of startups raising mns, and it makes the process look so easy.

Omar and I grew up in the agriculture industry, and we always had a passion for it. When we decided to start FreshSource, I was working for P&G and Omar was in London. I had a background in FMCG and Omar was with Goldman Sachs London. We had always known that we wanted to start something that would have an impact on our country. We started researching the industry and uncovered immense inefficiencies that exist in the value chain. An average of 45% of crops are lost before hitting store shelves due to poor harvesting, transportation, and storage. Farmers are not getting their fair cut, due to middlemen, and businesses are paying too much for their crops, making prices extremely high for the end-consumer. That’s the opportunity. We met with Dr Khaled Ismail, who ended up becoming one of our earliest investors, and he truly believed in our vision from the start.

Our niche is our ability to use technology to streamline the value chain. We empower farmers, increasing their income by 20% and lowering costs to businesses by 15% on average. Our family business, Multi Fruit, operates one of the largest cold storage facilities in the country, and has managed the distribution of Dole fruit in Egypt since the 1980s. Our ability to leverage their know-how has meant that we have a food loss rate of only 2% against a national average of 45%. Our ability to use data to make educated decisions on our sourcing, enabling us to guarantee the best value for money for any business, is another real strength.

People can underestimate how difficult it is to introduce technology to a very traditional industry. Egypt is one of the world’s oldest agricultural civilizations, and unfortunately has not been developing at the pace of other nations. As young co-founders, you often get challenged by others. Being a woman, I feel this particularly acutely. Omar works hard as our chief of operations. He manages a large workforce and is getting fantastic results every month. I know FreshSource wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for him.

I believe that blockchain will have an immense impact on the value chain of the food industry. People are generally oblivious to what has been sprayed on the food they eat or how it has been handled, so using blockchain to promote the traceability of food will have a transformative impact on the whole sector.

In my free time I like to read and spend time with my husband and dogs. I also enjoy mentoring startups.

I am a strong believer in planning your to-dos the night before so that you wake up with a clear focus on what your wins will be that day. At FreshSource we use Notion and Slack to keep our communication clear and organized. We also have weekly team meetings to make sure everyone is on track to meet their KPIs. For my personal to-do lists, there is nothing better than an old fashioned notebook and pen.

One of the maxims I live my life by is the following: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

An idea, no matter how unique or great it is, is just an idea. Determination, perseverance and transforming your setbacks into comebacks is what will build a truly successful enterprise.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 16.05 | Sell 16.18
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 16.06 | Sell 16.16
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 16.05 | Sell 16.15

EGX30 (Wednesday): 13,760 (-0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 354 mn (51% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +5.6%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 0.2%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended up 0.2%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Cleopatra Hospitals up 1.7%, Ibnsina Pharma up 1.5%, and Orascom Development Egypt up 1.2%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were AMOC down 3.3%, Egyptian Resorts down 3.2% and Egyptian Iron & Steel down 2.8%. The market turnover was EGP 354 mn, and regional investors were the sole net sellers.

Foreigners: Net long | EGP +14.7 mn
Regional: Net short | EGP -16.0 mn
Domestic: Net long | EGP +1.3 mn

Retail: 49.9% of total trades | 43.7% of buyers | 56.1% of sellers
Institutions: 50.1% of total trades | 56.3% of buyers | 43.9% of sellers

WTI: USD 57.92 (-0.3%)
Brent: USD 64.06 (-0.3%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.50 MMBtu, (-0.2%, January 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,462.50 / troy ounce (+0.1%)

TASI: 7,853 (-0.3%) (YTD: +0.3%)
ADX: 5,043 (-0.1%) (YTD: +2.6%)
DFM: 2,711 (+0.2%) (YTD: +7.2%)
KSE Premier Market: 6,449 (+1.2%)
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Calendar

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

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.

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

25-28 November (Monday-Thursday): Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) for North Africa, Aswan.

December: Belarus Industry Minister Pavel Utiupin will visit Egypt to discuss means of cooperation in the SCZone and plan for the seventh Egypt-Belarus Trade Meeting.

December: A Chinese automotive company delegation will visit Egypt to sign an agreement with El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company

December: Indian automotive delegation to visit Egypt

1-6 December: Vietnamese trade delegation visits Egypt.

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

2-3 December (Monday-Tuesday): The irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia the second round of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam negotiations in Washington, DC.

3 December (Tuesday): Emirates NBD / Markit PMI for Egypt released.

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

8-9 December (Sunday-Monday): The 6 th CEOs THOUGHTS 2019.

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 December (Tuesday): Egypt Automotive summit, Nile Ritz Carlton, 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)

11-12 December (Wednesday-Thursday): “Forum on peace and sustainability in Africa,” venue TBD, Aswan.

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.

17-21 December (Tuesday-Saturday): 2019 Automech Formula car expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

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.

5 January (Sunday): Postponed lawsuit hearing against Peugeot Automobile filed by Cairo for Development and Cars Manufacturing

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.

February 2020: A delegation of Swiss businesses will visit Egypt to discuss investment.

February 2020: Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar will visit Minsk, Belarus.

1 February 2020 (Saturday): The administrative court will look into an appeal by Adeptio AD Investments against a Financial Regulatory Authority to submit a mandatory tender offer (MTO) for Americana Egypt.

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.

1 March 2020: A conference on “logistics and its impact on the movement of goods and industry,” venue TBD, Alexandria.

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.

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. © 2018 Enterprise Ventures LLC.