Thursday, 27 February 2020

Were the conditions for 10% of HHD with management rights untenable?


What We’re Tracking Today

Don’t expect today’s GERD talks to amount to anything more than small talk: Ethiopia is trying to back out of the latest round of GERD talks and is asking the US to push the meeting so it has more time for “consultation,” an Ethiopian spokesman told Reuters without elaborating. Egypt remains “committed to the negotiations,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan had agreed to hammer out an accord by the end of February, but a final agreement has remained elusive even as the US and the World Bank stepped up their efforts to mediate the dispute.

Leaks earlier this month suggested that Egypt and Ethiopia remain at loggerheads over key aspects of filling and operating the dam, with the US pressuring both sides to make concessions on how much water will be released each year, how to monitor the flow, and even on the definition of “severe drought.” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said following the last round of talks that a resolution may still be months away.

Happy Leap Year: It’s nearly the end of February, but we have 29 days this year as it’s a leap year as we add an extra day to have 366 days in 2020 and keep the calendar year in sync with the astronomical year. The next leap year will be 2024.

It’s that time of the month again: Here are the key news triggers to keep your eye on as we enter the beginning of a new month.

  • PMI figures for Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will land on Tuesday, 3 March.
  • Foreign reserves figures for February will be released on Wednesday, 4 March.
  • Inflation figures for February are out on Tuesday, 10 March.

Coming up next week:


CORONA WATCH- EgyptAir postponed to 14 March the resumption of its flights to and from China, after originally planning to resume them today, according to a statement carried by the the local press. The airline said the decision is a result of “technical difficulties” but Private Aviation Association head Yousry Abdel Wahab tells the press that the airline is concerned about the spread of the covid-19 virus. EgyptAir had suspended flights on 1 February as a result of the outbreak. Reuters also has the story, and a comprehensive list of dates during which other major airlines have postponed flights. Many have kicked flights out as far as April and June.

Naguib Sawiris is concerned that the outbreak will cause the global economy to shrink unless it is contained “within the next few months,” particularly as countries are beginning to seal their borders and trade is being disrupted, according to CNBC. The Egyptian tycoon is also worried about how much havoc the virus would wreak if it were to spread in Africa, where healthcare services are ill-prepared, he says.

Meanwhile, Elsewedy Electric has moved to reassure investors, saying in a regulatory filing (pdf) that business has not been affected by the outbreak despite having contracts with Chinese companies.

Futures point to a lower open this morning for European and US markets today, while all Asian indices with the notable exception of China were solidly in the red at dispatch time this morning.

Cases of the virus continue to spread worldwide yesterday:

  • Germany is struggling to contain the virus as the country’s health minister warned the country is “at the beginning of an epidemic,” the Associated Press reports.
  • South Korea reported 284 new covid-19 cases, pushing the total number of cases in the country to 1,261 with numbers expected to rise as the government tries different testing techniques, according to Reuters.
  • The US has reported its first case with no known link to foreign travel, the New York Times reported overnight.
  • Greece and Brazil confirmed their first cases, according to SkyNews. Brazil’s case means the virus has now reached every continent except Antarctica.
  • Iran confirmed 44 new cases, bringing the total to 139 cases and 19 deaths, according to Bloomberg. President Hassan Rouhani said there are no plans to quarantine the most infected cities just yet.
  • The Canary Islands still has 700 people confined in a hotel after an Italian husband and wife staying at the resort tested positive for covid-19, according to the Guardian.

GCC economies’ forecasted growth has significantly decreased this year as the outbreak hits the oil-rich countries where it hurts, Standard Chartered said, according to Bloomberg. Declining oil demand and hindered travel and trade have affected Saudi Arabia’s growth projections the most, dropping to 1% from 2.3%, while the UAE’s economy is now expected to grow 1.1%, down from 2.1%. Oil prices have also hit their lowest in over a year.

US drugmaker Moderna has delivered the first batch of a potential covid-19 vaccine to US government researchers, with an eye to begin human testing by the end of April, according to the Wall Street Journal. Don’t expect results from clinical trials before July or August.

EGP WATCH- Could the greenback’s appreciation this week be a sign of capital flight from emerging markets? The EGP lost against a rallying USD for the second consecutive day to stand at EGP 15.54, from EGP 15.52 and 15.49 earlier this week. The EGP has risen over 50 piasters against the greenback so far into 2020, extending a run that made it the second best performing currency in 2019. An unnamed Central Bank of Egypt source told Masrawy that the dip after a period of strength came as the covid-19 outbreak triggered a selling wave that saw investors dump EM stocks and bonds in their flight to safe-haven assets.

EM Zombie Apocalypse 2.0 in the making? Egypt saw some USD 10 bn in outflows during the April-December 2018 Emerging Markets Zombie Apocalypse — a fierce selloff triggered by the US-China trade war that hit foreign portfolio investment across all asset classes. The selloff threatened Egypt’s thriving carry trade, but we managed to weather the storm and saw steady inflows throughout 2019.

A Note from our Editor: As always, views and analysis on the movement of currencies and the actual, likely or potential factors backing them are solely those of Enterprise and are arrived at independent of our sponsors via our own reporting and analysis.


Iconic investor Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders was published on Saturday. The biggest takeaway? Berkshire Hathaway is “100% prepared” for his and vice chair Charlie Munger’s deaths, Buffett said, noting that two executives widely seen as potential successors will be “given more exposure” at shareholder meetings. Berkshire’s 2019 performance was solid, reeling in USD 81.4 bn in net profits, but the company struggled to find appealing acquisition targets to spend its USD 128 bn cash pile on, Buffett said. The 89-year-old Oracle of Omaha also complained about corporate boards, which he said lack adequate representation from women, and encourage directors acquisition transactions that CEOs “crave” without Read the full letter here (pdf).

LSE Group’s acquisition of financial data hub Refinitiv is coming under stringent regulatory review in Brussels, as the companies’ failure to provide regulators appropriate notice of the USD 27 bn acquisition will trigger a longer legal probe into both their dealings, reports the Financial Times. The process will likely halt the LSE’s plans to boost its financial data crunching capabilities.

US ELECTION WATCH- A loud and crowded field of challengers will contest the Democratic primary in South Carolina on Saturday. What to watch for on Saturday: Former vice president Joe Biden won a key endorsement yesterday and must come out on top, having staked his campaign on a first-place finish on the strength of his ties to black voters in the southern state. The New York Times has a live page covering the contest. But the real fun is on Tuesday, 3 March — better known as Super Tuesday on the US political calendar. That’s when voters in more than a dozen states from Maine to California vote in primaries or caucuses that will decide nearly 34% of all delegates.

Weekend distractions (or things to keep you entertained on your commute this morning, if you prefer):

Ugly Delicious, hosted by the inimitable chef David Chang, is coming back for a second season on Netflix. It’s an awesome exploration of culture, race and community through the one thing that unites us all: Love of pizza. And dumplings. And BBQ. And… On second thought: Maybe add this to your list to watch during Ramadan? The trailer is here (watch, runtime: 1:56) and the show drops on 6 March.

Why teenagers reject your advice out of hand: All they really want is for you to listen, not offer fully formed solutions, it seems.

How do long marriages survive? Couples share the secrets of their long-haul unions with Canada’s Globe & Mail.

Need one more work fix before calling it a weekend? Try The condensed guide to running meetings in the Harvard Business Review.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

Former president Hosni Mubarak’s military funeral was all over the airwaves. Among those with coverage: Al Youm's Lobna Assal (watch, runtime: 8:31), Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (runtime: 6:50), Min Masr’s Amr Khalil (runtime: 6:49), and Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer (runtime: 2:54). We have more on this in Speed Round, below.

Ethiopia’s deicision to skip out on what was hoped to be the final round of GERD talks was also a popular topic, with Assal (watch, runtime: 1:13 and runtime: 1:47), Radwan (runtime: 2:22) and Amer (runtime: 3:15) all taking note. We recap the story in this morning’s What We’re Tracking today section, above.

Arbitration might be Egypt’s only course of action: If Ethiopia continues to be “intransigent,” Egypt could be forced to resort to arbitration over the GERD issue, political science professor Moataz Billah Abd El Fattah tells Assal. He suggests that Addis Ababa believes the US doesn’t have Ethiopia’s interests at heart, making it more stubborn in the negotiations (watch, runtime: 7:03).

Cigarette maker Eastern Company will not be charging beyond the official price list published by the Tax Authority, Radwan reports (watch, runtime: 4:26). Amendments to the VAT law enacted earlier this week raised sin taxes on all tobacco products, but the government said the new rates will not affect prices as vendors were already overcharging customers.

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

PRIVATIZATION WATCH- Sodic goes on the offense on HHD tender, says conditions were untenable: Real estate developer Sodic decided against bidding for a 10% stake and management rights of Heliopolis Housing and Development (HHD) because the two companies did not see eye-to-eye on key matters, Sodic Managing Director Magued Sherif tells the local press. According to Sherif, the upscale real estate developer wanted stronger board representation once awarded the management rights for HHD, but the state-owned company was not on the same page. Sodic was one of four companies that had purchased the tender documents for the transaction, but ultimately did not submit a bid.

HHD counters that it did what it could to address investor concerns: HHD received over 150 questions and requests from the four companies and showed flexibility in making changes to the conditions of the tender, said Hesham Aboul Atta, the chairman of HHD’s parent company, the Holding Company for Construction and Development. Their decision to not present bids despite these changes was a “negative” message from the companies, he said.

Sodic is still open to the idea if the terms are changed, but HHD says the window is closed: If HHD makes key changes to the prospectus in a fresh tender, Sodic would be willing to submit a bid and is still interested in cooperating with the state-owned company under different terms, Sherif said. But Aboul Atta confirmed that offering the 10% stake and rights to manage the company was a one-time offer that will not be renewed. HHD is now looking to set a new development plan from within the company, which Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik will announce soon. The fate of the company’s secondary offering has yet to be determined, Aboul Atta said.

Market regulator probing stock dip: The Financial Regulatory Authority is looking into allegations that insider trading could have played a role in HHD stocks plunging 9.7% after announcing it received no bids for the 10% stake, the local press reports, citing informed sources. According to the sources, the dip actually began before HHD officially disclosed the results of the tender, and there was a bump in trading on HHD shares on 18 February. The sources allege that some brokers received an insider tip that one of the four companies would not submit an offer. HHD shares recovered 2% on Wednesday to reach EGP 17.18, after tumbling to EGP 17.01 on Monday, according to EGX data.


M&A WATCH- Apache, Apex, Cheiron among bidders for Shell’s onshore assets: US oil and gas producer Apache, Egyptian firms Apex International Energy, Cheiron, and London-listed Pharos Energy have submitted bids for Shell’s onshore oil and gas assets in Egypt, Reuters reports, citing informed sources. Other undisclosed Asian and Middle Eastern companies have also made offers, the sources said. The transaction could take longer than expected to close due to weaker gas prices and the government’s lengthy approval process for the sale of such assets, according to the sources.

Background: Shell launched the sale process at the end of November to sell its onshore upstream assets in the Western Desert to focus on expanding its Egyptian offshore gas exploration efforts, appointing investment bank Citigroup to run the sale that could fetch around USD 1 bn. Shell’s portfolio in the Western Desert includes stakes in 19 oil and gas assets including the Badr El Din and Obaiyed area, as well as the North East Abu El Gharadig, West Sitra, Bed 1 gas, and West Alam El Shawish concessions. Reuters’ report noted that they produced 100k boe/d last year.

PRIVATIZATION WATCH- El Nasr Mining Company to offer 22% of its shares in IPO: The Holding Company for Metallurgical Industries’ general assembly has approved offering 21.97% of its subsidiary El Nasr Mining Company in an IPO on the EGX as part of the state privatization program, according to Youm7. No details were provided on an anticipated timeline for the offering.

Full steam ahead for the state privatization program? El Nasr Mining is one of eight companies the Public Enterprises Ministry was choosing from to IPO on the EGX before the end of FY2019-2020, Minister Hisham Tawfik told us in December. The list also includes e-Finance and Banque du Caire, the latter of which is probably the first in line to IPO. The bank, which will sell a 45% stake to investors by April, kicked off its inaugural roadshow last month, which saw good demand from investors. It remains unclear when the remaining IPOs will take place.

A quick recap on where we currently stand: The state privatization program has seen one delay after the other, with only one offering going materializing when Eastern Tobacco sold a 4.5% stake in a secondary offering back in March last year. Along with the Banque du Caire and El Nasr Mining, Heliopolis Housing and Development was also on track to make a secondary stake sale before four real estate development companies backed out from buying a 10% stake in the company along with management rights. The company has a contingency plan, but details remain scant and it is unclear what the next steps entail. Alexandria Container and Cargo Handling and Abu Qir Fertilizers — both of which finalized procedures last year to take secondary offerings to market — are also included in the program.

The obvious wildcard: Global market conditions are not exactly in favor of IPOs at the moment given that investors are dumping equities for gold and other safe haven assets amid fears that the novel covid-19 coronavirus could have a substantial impact on the global economy.

CABINET WATCH- The Madbouly Cabinet approved yesterday amendments to the Public Enterprises Act after including comments and proposed changes from the council of ministers, according to a cabinet statement. The 26-article bill would remove listed companies in which the government owns a 75% stake from the legislation, and bring them within the scope of the Companies Act, thus giving general assemblies more power to increase governance, oversee company boards and remove them if they deliver bad poor results. The bill should soon be shipped to the Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) for review before entering the House of Representatives for discussion and a final vote.

Also approved during the weekly meeting:

  • Covid-19 readiness: A Health Ministry request to purchase through direct order (rather than through the customary and lengthy tender process) protective gear to ward against spread of the covid-19 virus;
  • Cairo Metro Line 3 contract: A 15-year contract between the National Authority for Tunnels and a French company to take over the management, operation, and maintenance of the Cairo Metro Line 3;
  • Miscellany: A bundle of decisions and recommendations from the cabinet engineering committee regarding awarding contracts or increase of orders, as well as separate decisions and recommendations from the investment dispute resolution committee.

DISPUTE WATCH- Damietta Port Authority slapped USD 494 mn fine in DIPCO dispute: The International Court of Arbitration (ICC) has ordered the Damietta Port Authority (DPA) to pay over USD 494 mn to the Damietta International Ports Company (DIPCO) in a five-year-old contract termination dispute, the Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport (KGL) company said in a Kuwaiti exchange filing (pdf). KGL owns a 25% stake in DIPCO. DPA will also be required to pay debt service on other fines, according to the ruling.

An appeal is in the works: Law firm Sarie ElDin & Partners, which is representing DPA, plans to appeal the decision, government sources told Al Mal.

Decision is unfair, say former gov’t officials: Former senior government officials cited by Al Mal said that the decision was surprising, and that the DPA is the party entitled to compensation, not vice versa. DIPCO was awarded in 2006 a contract to build a container terminal in the port. In 2015, then Prime Minister Sherif Ismail annulled the contract, alleging DIPCO’s failure to stick to the agreed time frame.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Temporary tax dispute resolution bill goes into effect: The Egyptian Tax Authority is operating on the basis of a six-month law to facilitate the process of resolving open tax disputes until 30 June, according to an emailed statement (pdf). The legislation, which was drafted by the Finance Ministry back in December, allows financiers whose assets were frozen for failure to pay taxes to make a down payment of 10% to unfreeze their assets. They will then be allowed to file for a settlement.

LEGISLATION WATCH- Unified Technical Education Act to get House approval this session? The Education Ministry is looking to get the Unified Technical Education Act passed by the House of Representatives by the end of the current legislative session in September, head of the technical education department at the Education Ministry Amr Buseila has said. The draft law has been prepared by the ministry and will soon be presented to cabinet for review.

Details on the law are slim: Buseila said that the bill will include measures that would establish a committee consisting of representatives of various trade and crafts to oversee technical and vocational training processes.

The government is looking to step up private sector investment in technical and vocational training: The ministry said last week that it plans to partner with local and international companies to construct 100 new technical universities by 2030, and open five in 6 October, Borg El Arab, Port Said, Assiut and Luxor within the next two years. Deputy Higher Education Minister Ayman Ashour clarified yesterday that 19 of the universities will be built across the country, with at least one opening in every governorate.

IPO WATCH- Emerald’s shares rise on EGX debut day: Small cap real estate investment firm Emerald’s share price edged up by 3.46% on the first day of trading on the EGX under the ticker ُEMRI, according to Mubasher’s update by session closing. EGX boss Mohamed Farid, who earlier this week said at least three more private companies are expected to follow suit before the end of the year, called for more companies to list as the exchange grapples with low trading volume and a dearth of new offerings.

STARTUP WATCH- Garment IO secures USD 450k in seed funding: Cairo-based software company Garment IO has raised USD 450k in seed funding from Egypt Ventures and accelerator 500 Startups, Menabytes reports. The Software as a Service company produces software to help garment factories improve their productivity. It collects real-time data from production lines using IoT smart terminals and provides factory managers with production order tracking and a live transaction feed. Garment IO will use the investment to expand its operations in Egypt, build its tech team and upgrade customer support, co-founder and CEO Ahmed Nounou said, adding that the company has plans to launch their product in Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, and Turkey.

Around 4% of all internet users in Egypt own some form of digital currency, according to We Are Social’s Digital in 2019 report. Egypt’s internet users who engaged in e-commerce with any device was 47%, while those who bought something with using their mobile phones was 32%. The report estimated that the number of Internet users in the country is around 54% of the population.

The tiny number of crypto users in Egypt shouldn’t come as a surprise, given it’s still illegal as a medium of exchange. This may be changing though, after the Cabinet approved last October the draft Banking Act which would grant the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) powers to regulate the use of crypto. The draft is currently with the House Economic Committee for review before it is passed to the general assembly for a vote.

EARNINGS WATCH- Sodic reports strong growth in contracted sales, guides for 15% sales growth this year: Sodic’s net profit rose 60% in 2019 to EGP 719 mn from EGP 449 mn the year before, the company said in its full-year earnings release (pdf). Revenue growth was driven by deliveries in East Cairo projects Villette and Eastown, the company noted, as Sodic closed the year with revenues of EGP 5.3 bn, up 42% from the previous year.

Notably, Sodic is guiding for 15% sales growth this year with gross contracted sales of EGP 8.4 bn in the forecast, suggesting that the company is proving resilient in what some observers believe is a challenging market. The company noted that the diversity of its current land bank should allow it to mitigate concentration risk and allow “the company as a whole be more resilient to interruptions in any specific market.”

Why “sales” ≠ “revenue”: Readers should note that in the real estate industry, revenue is effectively a lagging indicator. Recognition policies vary from one developer to another, but a “sale” is typically defined as a new contract signed, while revenues are recognized when contracted units are delivered or reach a specific construction milestone.

Sodic is also guiding that it expects to deliver some 1,150 units in 2020 with an estimated value of EGP 5 bn, while expenditure on construction is expected at EGP 3.7 bn.

Dividend: The board of directors also suggested distributing dividends of EGP 0.55 per share upon the approval of general assembly, a 10% increase from the year before.

Edita net profit rises 19.3% y-o-y in 2019: Leading snack food maker Edita’s net profit rose 19.3% y-o-y in 2019 to EGP 362.3 mn, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). The company’s top-line growth was “driven by higher volumes and improved price mix,” according to the release. Revenues for the year reached EGP 4.03 bn, up 6.6% y-o-y.

In 2020, Edita is looking to “build on the foundations laid over the last twelve months to drive sustainable revenue growth and expand across the local and regional snack foods markets,” Chairman Hani Berzi said. The company plans to focus this year on rolling out new products while investing in its distribution capabilities to boost its market share. Edita also expects its new factory in Morocco to be operational this year, with construction having kicked off in 4Q2019.

Edita has also announced the launch of an upsized HoHos Cream product with a retail price of EGP 2 per pack, according to a press release (pdf), continuing a string of new product announcements in recent weeks. The company has also rebranded its uncoated Mini HoHos products. The company’s cakes segment, which includes Twinkies, HoHos, Tiger Tail, and Todo products, “continues to be the largest contributor of revenues” for the leading snackfoods maker.

GB Auto posted net profits of EGP 42.7 mn in 2019, down 92.2% y-o-y from EGP 544.8 mn in 2018, according to an earnings release (pdf). Revenues during the year dipped 0.9% to EGP 25.4 bn. The company’s Auto & Auto-Related (A&AR) segment recorded revenues dipped 4.8% y-o-y to EGP 21.1 bn, “a modest decrease despite the adverse regulatory environment that led to price instability in the PC market in Egypt and placed constraints on both consumers and manufacturers in the [two- and three-wheelers] market.”

Looking ahead: Ghabbour expects price stability “in the PC division as the market volatility from regulatory changes subside” in 2020, following a year of external challenges that undermined “an otherwise strong market.” The company is also pushing ahead with a digitization drive across its operations this year.

The earnings news came as GB Auto said in a regulatory filing (pdf) that it will no longer represent Hyundai’s passenger cars’ division in Iraq following the Korean automaker’s decision to shift to a multi-distributor model. The company, which had a 25% market share in Iraq last year with Hyundai, said its operations would be unsustainable under the new model. GB Auto will continue operating in the country until it clears its inventory, which might not happen until mid-2020.

TMG reports 10% increase in net profits: Talaat Moustafa Group’s net profits increased 10% y-o-y in 2019 to EGP 1.87 bn, up from EGP 1.7 bn a year earlier, the company revealed in its earnings statement (pdf). Consolidated revenues for the year came in at EGP 11.7 bn, up 7% y-o-y, from EGP 10.9 bn.

MOVES- Karim Soos (LinkedIn) has been appointed as the National Bank of Egypt’s retail CEO, succeeding Alaa Farouk, Masrawy reports. Soos, who was most recently the head of the bank’s retail risk group, previously served as retail risk head at Credit Agricole, SVP retail risk at the Egyptian American Bank and retail credit manager at CitiBank. Farouk has been tapped to head the Agricultural Bank of Egypt.

Former president Hosni Mubarak was laid to rest yesterday after a military funeral with full honors attended by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, former president Adly Mansour, Al Azhar’s Grand Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb, Pope Tawadros II, former prime ministers Ahmed Nazif and Ahmed Shafik and former House Speaker Fathy Sorour. Mubarak passed away on Tuesday at the age of 91.

The funeral and Mubarak’s death continue to be the top story on Egypt in the foreign press: Reuters | AP | NYT | BBC | The Guardian | The Daily Mail | Gulf News.

CORRECTION- We incorrectly stated yesterday that Palm Hills Development’s revenues rose 16% to EGP 6.2 bn in 2019. Revenues actually fell 16% from EGP 7.4 bn in 2018. The story has been corrected on our website.

***WE’RE HIRING: We’re looking for smart and talented people to join our team at Enterprise, which produces the newsletter you’re reading right now and Making It, our very first podcast. We offer the chance to work in a unique and casual work environment that promises to be intellectually challenging and rewarding. Enterprise is currently in the market for:

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Interested in applying? You can find more information on all the open positions here. To apply for the editor / reporter positions, please submit your CV along with 2-3 writing samples and a solid cover letter telling us a bit about who you are and why you’re a good fit for our team. To apply for the podcast producer job, please submit 2-3 audio samples and a solid cover letter telling us a bit about who you are, why you’re a good fit, and what interests you in Enterprise. A CV is nice, but we’re much more interested in your clips. Please submit all applications to


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Egypt in the News

The foreign press remains squarely focused on the death of former president Hosni Mubarak, whose funeral took place yesterday. We have the story in this morning’s Speed Round, above.

Banking + Finance

NBE signs EGP 1 bn credit facility with Fiber Misr

The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has signed a EGP 1 bn credit facility agreement with IT firm Fiber Misr, Masrawy reports. Fiber’s VP, Hassan El Sokkary, said the loan will help fund a number of projects it has been recently awarded but did not provide specifics.

Legislation + Policy

Egypt’s House approves law to raise pension ceiling for military employees

The House of Representatives approved draft changes to raise the ceiling of pensionable income for military employees in a plenary session on Tuesday, and referred them to the Council of State (Maglis El Dawla) for a final legal review. The changes bring a 1975 law on military pensions in line with the recently passed Social Security and Pensions Act, according to a House report cited by Al Shorouk. The latter law regulates the pensionable income ceiling for public and private sector workers, among other things.

My Morning Routine

Ayman Kandeel, CEO of AXA Egypt: 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 Ayman Kandeel, CEO of AXA Egypt, the provider of multiline insurance services, who joined the company in 2015 and became CEO in 2018.

My name is Ayman Kandeel, and I’m the CEO of AXA Egypt. I feel my purpose is to have a positive impact on everyone I meet which, which means being a good leader for my team and a supportive partner to my clients.

I start my day at 6:30 am by taking a shower and making coffee while I listen to intro jingles of old radio programs. In the 70s and 80s when I was a kid there used to be this introductory bit to radio programs and it gives me a nostalgic feeling reminding me of my carefree days as a kid. I make it into the office at around 8:00-8:30 am where my days are usually filled with one-on-one meetings discussing strategy, execution and progress. A large part of my day also consists of networking with CEOs of other companies. We hold regular weekly meetings with our executive committee and I make the rounds in all the office’s departments two or three times a week.

The highlights of my day come when I’m visiting the other departments where I get the chance to speak with team members and refuel from a lot of youthful energy. The average age at AXA is 30 and 52% of our employees are female.

I'm a big tech fan and I love to explore. I’ve been fascinated by Amazon’s Alexa recently and I’m trying to figure out the extent of its functionality. I read a lot of tech reviews and I prefer learning by tinkering rather than dwelling in theory. I always like to tell my team to put their ideas and curiosities into practice. Make mistakes and make conscious decisions to address them. You have to do it by yourself.

We started AXA Egypt as our own little greenfield baby and it was nowhere near the size that it is today. To see AXA as the third largest insurance provider in Egypt in terms of revenue and our healthcare division, which saw 86% growth in the past year, is a source of great accomplishment. Our company’s transformation from payer to partner is also a shift that I take a lot of pride in.

Insurance products are all quite similar, the real difference lies in the services behind them. We believe reshaping insurance from a mere provider to becoming a real partner. We won't wait for an incident to take place before we show up. We try to be preemptive in offering health and wellness consultations with AXA Group’s large investments in Egypt through the launch of AXA OneHealth clinics for example. We advise our partners on how to mitigate all forms of risk even if that means lower premiums for us. It's about building trust.

Insurance is not a new industry in Egypt, but people are afraid of being scammed or misled by piles of paperwork. Insurance products can generally be quite complicated and sometimes understandably scare people away. It's important for people to know that insurance is an essential safety net and we need to further shape the culture of preemptive care and risk management. This applies to SMEs and small business owners as well as emerging customers who need protection.

The new Insurance Act currently being discussed in parliament would make impactful changes to the current insurance landscape where compulsory insurance is applied. The measures would protect against a lot of risk and would shift a great burden of risk and safety assessment from the government to the responsibility of insurance providers to ensure that businesses, employees and consumers are protected in the event of an emergency and better assisted at preventing one.

The best business advice I received was from a senior leader in AXA, who told me you need to take 15-20 minutes out of your day at the office to walk outside, recharge and regroup. You need to be alone to give yourself a chance to review and reflect on your decisions and come back to work refreshed.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 15.53 | Sell 15.66
EGP / USD at CIB: Buy 15.54 | Sell 15.64
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 15.53 | Sell 15.63

EGX30 (Wednesday): 13,201 (-1.0%)
Turnover: EGP 562 mn (3% below the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: -5.5%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session down 1.3%. CIB, the index’s heaviest constituent, ended down 0.7%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Orascom Investment Holding up 5.4%, Dice up 5.0%, and Telecom Egypt up 3.7%. Yesterday’s worst performing stocks were GB Auto down 8.1%, Juhayna down 4.4% and EFG Hermes down 3.2%. The market turnover was EGP 562 mn, and foreign investors were the sole net buyers.

Foreigners: Net Long | EGP +13.8 mn
Regional: Net Short | EGP -0.9 mn
Domestic: Net Long | EGP -12.9 mn

Retail: 58.4% of total trades | 59.7% of buyers | 57.2% of sellers
Institutions: 41.6% of total trades | 40.3% of buyers | 42.8% of sellers

WTI: USD 48.67 (-0.12%)
Brent: USD 53.43 (-2.77%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 1.82 MMBtu, (-1.41%, April 2020 contract)
Gold: USD 1,643.40 / troy ounce (+0.02%)

TASI: 7,711.12 (-0.61%) (YTD: -8.08%)
ADX: 4,890.68 (-0.93%) (YTD: -3.65%)
DFM: 2,620.69 (-1.96%) (YTD: -5.21%)
QE: 9,548.22 (-1.60%) (YTD: -8.41%)
MSM: 4,138.92 (+0.25%) (YTD: +3.96%)
BB: 1,662.30 (+0.11%) (YTD: +3.24%)

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

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

23-29 February (Sunday-Saturday): 20 Egyptian companies will participate in the “Egyptian Trade Week” in Kampala, Uganda.

28-29 February (Friday-Saturday): Egypt Career Summit, The Greek Campus, Cairo, Egypt.

March: South Korean business delegation to visit Egypt.

March: 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.

March: The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry is sending 10 French companies to Egypt to promote French tourists to visit

1 March (Sunday): Egyptian Mining Day, Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Convention, Toronto, Canada.

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

2-5 March (Monday-Thursday): EFG Hermes’ 16th annual One on One conference, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai.

3 March (Tuesday): Business Today’s bt100 awards ceremony, Cairo.

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

5-8 March (Wednesday-Saturday): 25 Egyptian companies will participate in a forum on investment in startups in Saudi’s King Abdullah Economic City.

6-8 March (Friday-Sunday): Arab Banking Forum, for heads of risk management in Arab banks, organized by the Union of Arab Banks,with the Central Bank of Egypt and the Federation of Egyptian Banks.

7 March (Saturday): International Investment Conference for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, Al Galala City, Egypt

17-18 March (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

21-22 March: An international conference to market investment prospects in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

24 March (Tuesday): The Annual Export Summit, Cairo, Egypt

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

26 March (Thursday): Court session for Amer Group, Porto Group lawsuit against Antaradous.

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

12 April (Sunday): Easter Sunday.

12 April (Sunday): Court session for Amer Group, Porto Group compensation claim against Antaradous

19 April (Sunday): Court session for Arabia Investments Holdings’ lawsuit against Peugeot.

20 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

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

25 April (Saturday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

28-29 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

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

23 May (Saturday): An administrative court will look into an appeal by steel rolling mills to overturn a government’s decision to place import tariffs on steel rebar and iron billets. The hearing was postponed from 22 February 2020.

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

4-6 June (Thursday-Saturday): 2020 Africa-France Summit, Bordeaux, France.

9-10 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

17-20 June (Wednesday-Saturday): 2019 Automech Formula car expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

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

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

28-29 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

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

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

15-16 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

24 September- 2 October (Thursday-Friday): El Gouna Film Festival, El Gouna, Egypt.

6 October (Tuesday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

29 October (Thursday): Prophet Mohamed’s birthday (TBC), national holiday.

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

4-5 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

15-16 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): US Federal Open Market Committee will hold its two-day policy meeting to review the interest rate.

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

25 December (Friday): Western Christmas.

1 January 2021 (Friday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

7 January 2021 (Thursday): Coptic Christmas, 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. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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