Tuesday, 23 March 2021

EnterpriseAM — IDH is one step closer to listing on the EGX

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends, and welcome to Tuesday. It’s a brisk news morning for you today, with news from across a wide spectrum of industries and a quiet day on the government affairs and regulation fronts.

The two biggest stories of the day are out of the healthcare sector: Consumer healthcare giant IDH has gotten regulatory approval to move ahead with a technical listing on the EGX. And on the covid front, there now appears to be a chance we’re going to manufacture Sinovac’s vaccine here in Egypt, although talks appear to be at a reasonably early stage. Sinovac is not the same as the Sinopharm jab we’re deploying now in the first phase of vaccine rollouts here in Egypt, as we explain below, and has a lower efficacy rate.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly will be in Amman today to attend a meeting of the Joint Jordanian-Egyptian Higher Committee, which will discuss economic, commercial, and investment ties. according to Jordan’s Petra news agency.

AUC Venture Lab is hosting a virtual roundtable event today to discuss Up-Fuse’s growth from local startup to internationally-recognized social enterprise. Find out more here (pdf).

MARKET WATCH-

The EGX is now in the red for the year to date after the EGX30 fell 2.5% yesterday on reasonably low turnover (at just under EGP 940 mn, it’s about 36% below the trailing 90-day average). The benchmark index is now down 2.8% YTD after having spent most of the time since 1 January solidly in the green.

The details of Egyptian Iron and Steel’s liquidation will be announced in the coming days, the local press reported, citing sources it claims have knowledge of the decision. The company is being liquidated in a two-year process that includes spinning off its mining operation to create a new entity, Iron and Steel for Mines and Quarries, which is supposed to be listed on the EGX this month.

PSA- The hot, dusty weather is set to continue again today in much of Egypt, with the sandy conditions lasting at least until tomorrow morning, according to a warning from the national weather service. We’re looking at a high this afternoon of 32°C, but the mercury could cool tomorrow to 22°C (with a chance of high winds) setting up a nice weekend, according to our favourite weather app.

*** CATCH UP QUICK with the top stories from yesterday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

Other things we’re watching this morning:

THE BIG STORY ABROAD as we kick off this workday: We aren’t the only ones who love investing in massive infrastructure projects to build (and support) the economy of tomorrow: The Biden administration has put together a “multipart infrastructure and economic package” that will cost somewhere between USD 3 tn and USD 4 tn. (Yes, tn with a “t”.) “The first proposal would center on roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects” and include plenty of climate-change initiatives, the WSJ notes. A second wave would focus on education, including universal prekindergarten and offering access to community college education without charge.

The story is getting tons of digital ink this morning and leads the front pages of the Wall Street Journal (which says the program is worth about USD 3 tn) and Reuters (which pegs it at USD 4 tn). It’s also at the top of the page on Bloomberg, which notes that “China has already been spending big on road, rail and airports” and that previous US presidents have struggled to deliver on investments in infrastructure. Fortune also has the story.

MEANWHILE: 2021 has jumped the shark. Need proof? Look no further than the Financial Times’ lead story this morning: WeWork tells investors it lost USD 3.2 bn last year as it woos them for Spac [transaction].

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CLOSER TO HOME: Our friends at Kashat, one of Egypt’s hottest fintech startups, concluded a private seed-extension round in December led by the Cairo Angels, co-founders Karim Nour and Sumair Farooqui (LinkedIn) tell us. Both Kashat and Cairo Angels declined to specify a ticket size, but said the transaction was the Angels’ largest investment in its decade-long history. The news comes a day after the company, Egypt’s first FRA-regulated nano-finance player, integrated with e-payment platform Fawry. Kashat has already integrated with Vodafone Cash and Aman, and the Fawry hookup will give customers more cash-in and cash-out venues thanks to Fawry’s sprawling national network. Kashat was recently named one of the country’s top fintech players by Daily Finance and launched a national nano-finance campaign in January.

CORRECTION- 26 April 2021

An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Farooqui.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Real Gate real estate exhibition will kick off on Thursday and run until Saturday at the Egyptian International Exhibition Center.

Head to Sharm for a startup gathering: Investors, entrepreneurs and policymakers will gather in Sharm El Sheikh for the Startup Festival on 28-29 March 2021. More than 80 startups will participate in the exhibition, which will feature panel discussions and workshops. The gathering will also unveil who is taking home hardware from the “Egypt Entrepreneurship Rally Competition.” The gathering is organized by the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport, and companies that have graduated from AAST’s supply chain and logistics as well as youth incubators have the chance to pitch their ideas to investors.

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is set to open on 3 April in El Fustat. Local and international visitors alike will have to pay less for admission for the first two weeks to explore the museum’s central hall, according to a cabinet statement. Meanwhile, the Royal Mummies Hall will be ready for visitors starting 18 April. The museum is designed as a celebration of Egyptian civilization from prehistory to the present day.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.

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*** It’s Going Green day — your weekly briefing of all things green economy in Egypt: Enterprise’s green economy vertical focuses each Tuesday on the business of renewable energy and sustainable practices in Egypt, everything from solar and wind energy through to water, waste management, sustainable building practices and how you can make your business greener, whatever the sector.

In today’s issue: In keeping with this week’s theme of shining a spotlight on startups in various sectors that we cover, we look at startups that are addressing environmental issues as their core focus.

enterprise

IPO WATCH

IDH is one step closer to listing on EGX

Consumer healthcare giant Integrated Diagnostics Holdings (IDH) is one step closer to its dual listing on the EGX after the company received Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) approval yesterday to go ahead with the transaction, IDH said in a disclosure (pdf) to the London Stock Exchange. IDH had submitted the paperwork for its EGX listing to the FRA last month, ahead of a potential IPO during 1H2021. The company said it is still in the process of obtaining further regulatory approvals before commencing the IPO, according to the disclosure.

No new equity for sale: IDH confirmed it would not be offering new shares, according to the statement, and will be pursuing a first-in-Egypt technical listing designed to improve the visibility and accessibility of its shares to investors in other markets. The company will offer at least 5% of its shares on the EGX to meet freefloat requirements.

Why the dual listing? “The listing will give Egypt-based and regional investors as well as global emerging markets specialists, who are sometimes unable to access shares traded on the LSE, the chance to trade IDH's shares,” the company said. The move will see IDH's ordinary shares traded between the two exchanges with trading on the EGX to be denominated in EGP.

A boost to the EGX: IDH’s “market capitalization of over USD 600 mn will add significant value to the EGX and strengthen its position as a key entry point for MENA equity and debt capital markets,” CEO Dr. Hend El Sherbini said in the statement.

IDH was the first Egyptian company to list on the LSE in 2015. The company owns the Al Borg and Al Mokhtabar lab network in Egypt and has a strong presence in Jordan, Nigeria, and Sudan.

Advisors: EFG Hermes and Renaissance Capital are quarterbacking the transaction, while White & Case, Clifford Chance, and Ogier are counsel. Inktank is investor relations advisor.

COVID WATCH

We could make Sinovac + tourism workers at the head of the line

We could soon be making China’s Sinovac vaccine here at home as Egypt is expected to reach an agreement with the Chinese vaccine maker as early as this month, Zayed said at yesterday’s press conference, Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy noted (watch, runtime: 3:31). The minister announced last December that negotiations over a license are ongoing and that Egypt has already established a production line for the vaccine at state-owned vaccine maker Vacsera. We’re also getting closer to an Egyptian covid jab, with clinical trials for a local vaccine named Covi Vax due to start soon.

Sinovac ≠ Sinopharm. The Sinovac jab has pros and cons. It’s a two-dose vaccine that is easily stored in a normal refrigerator, but its efficacy rate lags Sinopharm. Sinvovac said last month that phase three trials in Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, and Chile wound it had a nearly 51% efficacy rate in preventing all cases of covid-19, prevented 84% of cases that would have required medical treatment and 100% of “hospitalized, severe, and fatal cases.” Sinopharm, used here and in the UAE, among other countries, has an overall efficacy rate of 79%.

Meanwhile, Egypt is set to buy an undisclosed quantity of the Sinopharm jab, Zayed added, after taking receipt of the second 300k-dose gift shipment of the vaccine from China earlier this week. We’re still waiting for some 5 mn doses of AstraZeneca out of an 8.6 mn dose order. The shipment, already delayed as AstraZeneca faces production challenges, should be here by month’s end.

The WHO could lend us a hand for our vaccine manufacturing plans by sending medical delegations and experts to Egypt to participate in the production of jabs that we will then export to African countries, WHO’s Egypt head of mission Naeema Al Gasseer said yesterday during a meeting with Zayed, according to a ministry statement.

All tourism workers in Sinai and the Red Sea are expected to be vaccinated by the end of May after the Health Ministry decided to add them to the same priority level in the country’s vaccination program as the elderly and chronically ill, Minister Hala Zayed told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib over the weekend. The ministry is also planning to have the entirety of Egypt’s medical staff inoculated by the end of next week, Zayed said (watch, runtime: 6:18).

Would-be Hajj goers this year are also getting a share of Egypt’s vaccine stock, Zayed said at a presser yesterday. The Tourism Ministry is in wait-and-see mode for Saudi Arabia’s conditions on the pilgrimage, and is taking into account that the kingdom may not allow those who received the Sinopharm jab to enter the country since it has yet to receive WHO approval, Deputy Antiquities and Tourism Minister Ghada Shalaby told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 6:41).

Some 30k individuals in Egypt have so far been vaccinated against covid out of a total of 488k whose registrations on the Health Ministry’s online portal were approved, Alaa Eid, who heads the ministry’s preventive healthcare department, said, according to Youm7. That means the ministry has inoculated around 4.5k in two days: As of Sunday morning, a total of 25,500 individuals had received a jab.

As many as 250k individuals could be called to ger their jab this week alone, Zayed had said on Saturday. By our math, that would require 44k jabs per day — a 19x increase in the ministry’s current pace. The ministry is setting up 5k medical units and 400 hospitals to administer the vaccines, Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hosary noted.

By the end of 2021, Egypt could have inoculated 20% of its population if everything goes according to the ministry’s schedule, health economics professor Islam Annan told El Hosary (watch, runtime: 12:31).

The Health Ministry reported 643 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down slightly from 647 the day before. The ministry also reported 39 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 11,637. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 196,061 confirmed cases of covid-19.

Europe’s third wave: Déjà vu with a twist. More than a dozen European countries are entering Lockdown 3.0 while the continent struggles to kick its vaccination program into high gear, CNBC reports. And Europe isn’t alone: Countries around the world are seeing a significant uptick in covid-19 cases, snapping a six-week streak of declines, partly due to the spread of more infectious variants of the virus, the Associated Press reports, citing a top WHO official. The uptick appears to have everything to do with variants and comparatively little to do with people getting pandemic fatigue and relaxing precautions, the Economist said, as we noted yesterday.

Global supply chains are at risk of further disruptions thanks to unvaccinated sailors on board shipping vessels. Some countries, most notably China, are imposing vaccination requirements at their borders despite over half of the world's 1.7 mn sailors coming from developing countries where vaccines won't be widely available before 2024, according to the Financial Times. This mismatch in vaccine policies and availability threaten to result in “chaos” as sailors are barred from disembarking, and are left stranded at sea.

South Africa is selling off some of its unused AstraZeneca vaccines to other African countries after a small-scale trial showed the jab is largely ineffective against its domestic covid-19 variant, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the country’s health ministry.

M&A WATCH

Bank ABC is within arm’s reach of Blom Bank

Bahrain’s Bank ABC is finalizing its acquisition of Lebanon’s Blom Bank’s Egypt arm after getting the green light from Bahrain and Lebanon’s central banks, according to a report in Al Mal’s print edition citing sources it says are in the know. ABC still needs to get the OK from the Central Bank of Egypt, which is expected to come through within a few days and allow the transaction to officially close. The sale includes Blom’s physical and non-physical assets and customer accounts, marking the first of two anticipated exits by Lebanese banks.

A refresher: ABC snagged Blom Egypt after the Bahraini bank said late last year that it was in exclusive talks to acquire 99.42% of Blom’s Egyptian unit, following several months of speculation about whether fellow GCC lender Emirates NBD would compete for the acquisition. ABC already has a presence in Egypt with Bank ABC Egypt, in which it owns a 93% stake. Blom and rival Bank Audi are leaving Egypt as they struggle in their home market of Lebanon.

ENERGY

Damietta LNG plant ships first cargo to Europe

The first Europe-bound LNG shipment from the Damietta liquefaction plant arrived in Belgium on Sunday — almost a month after the facility restarted operations and sent out trial shipments of gas following an eight-year hiatus, according to S&P Global. The cargo, which made its way out of the Damietta Port almost a week earlier, will be sold directly to customers in Europe.

Expect to see two more LNG shipments to be loaded and shipped out of the Idku and Damietta plants by early next month, S&P said. The shipments will be offered on an FOB basis and valued at nearly USD 5.80-5.95/mmbtu.

And Europe will likely overtake Asia as the dominant market for our shipments, as European gas prices are becoming “increasingly competitive versus Asian spot LNG prices.” Egypt has so far shipped 26 LNG cargoes since the beginning of the year, with 18 of those exported to Asian markets, according to the report. The Idku facility also accounted for the bulk of those cargoes.

But there is skepticism on whether we can keep up the momentum: S&P remains uncertain if Egypt’s LNG production will remain high during this summer. There’s optimism that exports will be sustained if Egypt’s spot LNG prices remain above breakeven costs of around USD 5.00-5.50 / mmbtu. “Should spot LNG prices sink below the breakeven price [like last summer] Egypt may again be minded to temporarily curtail supplies,” S&P writes.

Background: The Damietta LNG facility — a pivotal component of our regional natural gas hub ambitions — restarted production last month, following an agreement between the government, state-owned EGAS, plant operator Spanish Egyptian Gas Company (Segas), and Union Fenosa Gas (UGS), the JV between Naturgy and Eni to settle an eight-year ownership dispute. The reopening of the plant removes a major roadblock to Egypt’s plans to export LNG to Europe, and will allow us to maximize the potential of Israeli natural gas imports. Egypt and Israel have agreed to build to connect Israel’s offshore Leviathan gas field to the Damietta and Idku liquefaction plants, Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz previously said. Leviathan’s offshore gas field came online in 2019 and supplies Egypt and Jordan.

ENERGY

Shell inks two offshore agreements with Egypt, shifting focus to marine production

Shell has signed two new oil and gas exploration agreements with the Oil Ministry in the Herodotus Basin deepwater sector off Egypt’s western Mediterranean coastline, the Dutch company’s Egypt office said in a press release (pdf). Shell acquired 67% of the 6.8k sqm North Marina and North Cleopatra concessions through its subsidiary BG Delta Limited, which will be in charge of operations. The remaining stake was awarded to Chevron, which acquired 27% through subsidiary Noble Energy Egypt and state-owned Tharwa Petroleum Company, which snapped up 10%.

Drilling in the concession areas will commence within three years of the agreements being ratified by the House of Representatives, and will continue for three years, the statement said. The companies will run seismic scans in early stages, it added.

Is Shell hoping to strike a new Zohr? Shell reached an agreement earlier this month with Egypt’s Cheiron Petroleum Corporation and UK-listed Cairn Energy to sell its onshore assets in the Western Desert as it shifts its investment focus in Egypt toward marine and deepwater production. Yesterday’s agreements complement the new strategy, the company said in its press release, adding that western Mediterranean exploration blocks hold great promise for natural gas discoveries. Shell is planning on upping its exploration activities in Egypt, “to contribute to Egypt’s transformation into a regional energy hub,” Chairman Khaled Kassem said.

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SMEs

Egypt’s small businesses think a recovery is in the cards this year

Small businesses in Egypt are increasingly optimistic about where the economy is going, with 75% of respondents surveyed in Visa’s 2021 Small Business Recovery study (pdf) saying they expect a recovery this year. A key driver: The adoption of digital payments solutions as the central bank and Finance Ministry push ahead with digitalization and financial inclusion drives. As you’d expect with a survey created by a card and payment provider, the poll focuses heavily on e-payments.

A majority of respondents said online shipping is here to stay, with 88% saying they believed it would remain a preference among their clients beyond the pandemic. Half of Egyptian SMEs said their customers preferred digital payments during the pandemic, while 35% of merchants said they established an online presence for the first time after covid-19 increased demand for digital payments. This year is expected to see around 40% of Egyptian consumers shopping online more frequently.

More businesses are following suit: Some 24% of Egyptian merchants said they are planning to build an e-commerce platform, while 40% plan to offer contactless and digital prepayment options soon. Within the next two years, 44% of retailers who only accept banknotes intend to set up POS terminals and 29% will invest in new digital payment technologies.

But digital acceptance is still far from the norm among small business owners: Only 24% of those surveyed said they trusted card payments, with 18% saying they would be concerned about the timely fulfillment of refund requests by consumers.

Though as long as it’s affordable, business owners are interested, with 23% of respondents saying they would be keen to implement low cost acceptance solutions.

Fintech

Thndr-led alliance of fintech teams up to set up private e-signature service provider

Thndr is leading a consortium of five fintech companies looking to set up an independent e-signature service provider, the stock trading app said in a press release (pdf). Dubbed Imda, the consortium includes fintech platforms Digital Finance (DFin) Holding and Masria Card, facial recognition software developer Digified, and Public Partners Ins. Brokerage.

What is an e-signature, you ask? Just like real signatures, but digital. E-signatures are enforceable digital signatures that use encryption to securely verify the identity of a signatory, and authenticate certificates.

An end to paperwork? Together, the companies aim to roll out a service that will allow users to “create digitally verified identities” through which they can imprint their court approved e-signatures on digital documents, contracts and agreements. The announcement comes less than a month after the ICT Ministry’s executive arm ITIDA said it will award up to three licenses to tech companies to provide e-signature and timestamp services, a step it says will help develop Egypt’s digital economy.

CORRECTED ON 24 March 2021

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Thndr consortium could become the first independent e-signature provider. Information security company EgyptTrust, which is minority-owned by Telecom Egypt, has held a license to provide the service since 2005.

LEGISLATION WATCH

Senate signs off on vocational schools accreditation authority

The Senate has approved a bill setting up a new authority to accredit institutions offering technical learning and training programs, Al Shorouk reports. The bill, which will now be passed back to the House for a final vote, would set up a national body responsible for accrediting vocational schools. Institutions will have five years to meet new quality standards and obtain accreditation once it is up and running.

Go deeper: We ran an in-depth piece asking private sector vocational school operators whether the new bill could help promote an effective vocational schools system in Egypt in a recent issue of Blackboard.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

It was a mixed bag of nuts on the airwaves last night, as the talking heads mostly turned their attention to Health Minister Hala Zayed’s press conference on Egypt’s planned manufacturing of the Sinovac vaccine (which we recap in full in the news well, above).

How do you define a monopoly? Eastern Company being the only manufacturer of tobacco products in Egypt doesn’t make it a monopoly, Eastern’s CEO Hany Aman told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi. Aman recapped the broad strokes of the tender that would grant one license to establish Egypt’s second major tobacco company and confirmed that Eastern is looking to begin producing e-cigarettes (watch, runtime: 5:55)

Your regular reminder to file your taxes: The Tax Authority has no plans to extend the 31 March deadline for income tax filing, considering the authority has already pushed the deadline twice, head of the authority’s central administration El Sayed Sakr told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa. Filings are now electronic, Sakr reminded Moussa (watch, runtime: 4:48).

Also on the airwaves last night:

  • Construction on phase 1 of the high-speed electric rail line linking Ain Sokhna and New Alamein is scheduled to wrap in 2023, Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir said. (Ahmed Moussa on Ala Mas’ouleety | watch, runtime 71:42)
  • Egypt is still committed to the declaration of principles on GERD, Irrigation Ministry spokesperson Mohamed Ghanem said. (Khairy Ramadan and Karima Awad on Hadith Al Kahera | watch, runtime: 4:53)

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It’s a relatively quiet morning for Egypt in the foreign press. Feminists around the world are honoring the late Nawal El Saadawi, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 90, Reuters notes. Meanwhile, this Forbes contributor piece suggests ancient Egypt’s defeat by the Romans was caused by volcanoes, with new evidence suggesting the ancient strategic city of Berenice on Egypt’s Red Sea coast was abandoned a few decades after its foundation due to a drought triggered by a volcanic eruption.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

A handful of things we’re keeping an eye on this morning:

  • The UAE’s Time Hotels will open this year its first two hotels in Egypt, namely the 203-room resort in Nuweiba and a 130-room hotel and conference center near El Alamein.
  • HC Securities was co-advisor (pdf) to Saudi’s Almarai on its acquisition of Bakemart UAE and Bahrain.
  • Zilla Capital has set a fair value for Assiut Islamic Trading’s shares at EGP 22.35 apiece, valuing the company at EGP 149.4 mn, the listed company said in a statement (pdf). Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank earlier this month approved a mandatory tender offer submitted by a group of shareholders for its 76% stake in the company at EGP 28.5 per share.
  • Public transport company Mowasalat Misr is planning to grow its fleet of buses to 1k from 300 within the next two years.

PLANET FINANCE

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GLOBAL IPO WATCH- UK-based food delivery startup Deliveroo has kicked off its GBP 1.8 bn IPO in London, according to Bloomberg. The UK-based company is now taking investor orders at GBP 3.9-4.6 apiece, which values the company at GBP 7.6-8.8 bn, and makes for the largest IPO in the UK since September. Shares will make their debut on the LSE on 31 March.

A dash of hope for the City? The offering by Deliveroo — whose major shareholders include Amazon and VC firms DST Global and Index Ventures — comes as UK authorities are mulling proposals to reform listing rules to attract more high growth tech companies as London grapples with a potential loss of status as a major financial center post-Brexit.

Oil suffered its deepest weekly loss since October last week, with Brent futures losing 6.8% and US crude falling 6.4%, amid fears of a third wave of covid-19 in Europe, according to Bloomberg.

Just a blip? The sell-off, which saw the number of futures contracts held by traders drop 7%, was only “transient,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a note, suggesting that the market rally will continue as the global vaccine rollout increases mobility.

Record flows into US equities last week signal a psychological shift in favor of riskier assets, Axios writes. Investments into US equities reached a “staggering record” of USD 68.3 bn last week — including USD 56.8 bn into equity funds — as money moved away from traditionally safe bonds and money market funds, which saw USD 9.9 bn in outflows over the same period.

This marks what Axios calls a “sea change” in investor psychology, which has traditionally seen money exit equity funds and enter fixed income and money market funds. “Investors have clearly embraced the concept of ‘There Is No Alternative’ as fund flows have nearly evaporated for government bonds … That flies in the face of recent history — 2019 saw USD 199.7 bn of equity fund outflows and 2020 saw USD 394.6 bn of outflows,” Axios says.

Down

EGX30

10,537

-2.5% (YTD: -2.8%)

Up

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.68

Sell 15.78

Up

USD at CIB

Buy 15.68

Sell 15.78

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

9,547

+0.5% (YTD: +9.9%)

Up

ADX

5,733

+0.2% (YTD: +13.6%)

Down

DFM

2,552

-1.2% (YTD: +2.4%)

Up

S&P 500

3,941

+0.7% (YTD: +4.9%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,726

+0.3% (YTD: +4.1%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 63.89

-1.1%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 2.57

-0.5%

Down

Gold

USD 1,734.70

-0.3%

Down

BTC

USD 55,020.06

-2.8%

The EGX30 fell 2.5% yesterday on turnover of EGP 936 mn (36.4% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is now down 2.8% YTD.

In the green: Edita (+1.5%), Ibnsina Pharma (+1.0%)

In the red: AMOC (-7.3%), Qalaa Holdings (-5.9%) and Orascom Financial (-5.6%).

Japan’s Nikkei is the only Asian market in the green as we hit “send” on this morning’s edition, with shares in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul all in the red. Futures suggest US markets will open down this morning, as will shares in Toronto and much of Europe.

AROUND THE WORLD

An end to the Yemen conflict could be in sight as Saudi Arabia floated a new peace initiative to end the six-year conflict, including a UN-supervised country-wide ceasefire, an easing of the blockade on the country, and the relaunch of political talks, Bloomberg reports. The truce plan would take effect as soon as the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who control strategic parts of Yemen, agree with it. One Houthi official dismissed the initiative as "not serious or new” in a tweet yesterday, saying the group would continue talks with Saudi Arabia, Oman and the US to reach peace.

The EU has agreed to sanction four Chinese officials for human rights abuses committed against Uighur Muslims, Reuters reports. The measures, which include asset freezes and travel bans, received an immediate response from Beijing, which introduced similar sanctions on European lawmakers.

greenEconomy

What are Egypt’s green startups up to? As we did yesterday in edtech, we’re taking a look at industry-focused startups — today, folks who have environmental issues at the core of their business model. These operate in the waste and water management, solar energy, agritech and — believe it or not — e-commerce sectors.

This week, we will focus on waste management startup Tagaddod and solar heater company Shamsina. We picked those two to start with as they appear to provide simple easy solutions to environmental problems that can be applied on a small scale to the average household.

First up is waste management startup Tagaddod, which collects and exports used cooking oil (UCO) for biofuel. This type of waste can be found in every household. However, there isn’t enough UCO to cater to the high global demand, cofounder Tagaddod Nour El Assal says. This shortfall is not due to the lack of people’s love for a juicy piece of fried chicken, but rather because of the lack of a sufficient mechanism to collect UCO from factories, retailers, and households. To solve that gap, Tagaddod built Green Pan, an app that allows households to schedule UCO pickups and another one for hotels, restaurants and cafes — or Horecas for short. The company then exports the UCO to refineries abroad, where it turns into biofuel and hydrogenated vegetable oil — basically the new version of biofuel, from which other types of fuel (jet fuel, diesel, gasoline etc.) can be extracted.

Over the years, UCO has become a global commodity: Today, there are actually futures contracts for UCO. Just a few months ago, in November 2020, OilPrice reported “such a rush on used cooking oils and animal fats that some renewable refineries have reported having trouble procuring these once worthless feedstocks.” Oil and non-oil waste in MENA per household amounts to around USD 144 / year, which translates into over USD 21 bn annually, El Assal tells us. Egypt’s current used cooking oil market size stands at USD 14 mn, which is only 4% of the potential production of USD 352 mn, according to El Assal. The global used cooking oil market size is expected to reach USD 8.48 bn in 2027, according to Fortune Business Intelligence. The growth is expected to be driven by global government directives towards a more environmentally-friendly future and the increasing demand for UCO, it adds.

Households and restaurants have certain perks in mind when using Tagaddod. One of the perks of using Tagaddod as a multi-branch restaurant, for instance, is that it helps track each food outlet’s consumption of oil, providing inventory and operational data that is otherwise hard to come by. As a household, every liter of UCO handed to Tagaddod translates into incentives and small gifts.

Today, Tagaddod collects UCO from 2k businesses and 40k households, saving approximately 2k tons of emissions a month. The company is targeting reaching a roster of 1 mn households in 2024 and expanding into Africa in the near future.

Starting April 2020 (read: covid), the startup’s m-o-m oil collection growth skyrocketed on the B2C end, but dropped in B2B. On one end, household and retail factories’ output of used oil grew between 30% and 40% m-o-m, but on the other, many B2B partners suffered. Fine dining — a major source of UCO — was heavily affected by social distancing measures that came to life thanks to covid, dropping by almost half. “Between 30-40% of our B2B customer base had to shut down,” El Assal said, but September and October indicated a slight recovery as lockdown measures in Egypt were largely lifted and pandemic fatigue led many to return to normal life to some degree.

Where Tagaddod takes waste material out of homes, Shamsina wants to use renewables to bring a necessity to all households: Hot running water. Operating under the slogan “Sun for all,” the startup designs, manufactures, and delivers affordable, locally-made solar water heaters for “all Egyptians,” from energy-poor communities to energy-conscious consumers.

There is no current water heating option in Egypt that is attractive, as traditional options are plagued with health, safety and environmental concerns, Deena Moussa, founder of Shamsina, says. “50% of the population does not have access to a modern water heater; these households use kerosene lamps, gas tanks or makeshift fires instead,” Moussa explains. These options come with health and safety concerns, emitting environmentally harmful pollutants, and causing burns, dangerous levels of smoke inhalation, and pollution. Even households that use electric water heaters have seen their electricity bills go up since 2016, due to the EGP’s floatation and subsidy cuts. Moreover, electricity prices are expected to almost double over the coming four fiscal years as the government moves towards a complete elimination of subsidies.

But solar panels come with their own concern: A high initial cost, which Shamsina looks to navigate through a cross-subsidy model. Cross subsidy implies that certain customer segments are charged more for the product, in order to be able to provide lower-income customers with subsidized prices for the same acquisition. Solar water heaters are available abroad, but are too expensive when imported for lower-income households. “Our local production process helps revive industry and strengthens local know-how,” Moussa tells us. “Through a cross-subsidy model, Shamsina makes reliable solar water heaters widely accessible, reaching every corner of the country and especially those who struggle most.” At the high-end, heaters are sold for about USD 500, making it possible to sell them for about USD 100 at the low-end of the market.

So far, the company installed 25 solar heaters as prototypes and is planning to launch at the end of this year. Operating out of a workshop in Darb Al Ahmar — the district that inspired the initiative — it has received funding from Davis Projects for Peace in the US and the American non-profit organization Synergos. Currently, it is looking to raise a seed-fund round of USD 50k.

Your top climate stories for the week:

  • EGP 14 bn worth of solar-powered irrigation systems for Egyptian farmers will be financed by on-lending through the International Finance Corporation and Alexbank.
  • Almost 59k people have applied to swap their cars for new natgas models through the Finance Ministry’s website since the first phase of the government’s plan to convert or replace 1.8 mn cars went live earlier this year.
  • Car owners now only need to have owned their vehicles for two years to qualify for a replacement under the state’s natural gas transition plan, down from a minimum three years previously.

CALENDAR

March: Potential visit to Cairo by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

23 March (Tuesday): The second edition of the Egypt Retail Summit takes place at the Nile Ritz Carlton hotel.

23 March (Tuesday): The British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) virtual conference on sustainable manufacturing in Africa.

23 March (Tuesday): AUC Women on Boards Observatory event to launch 2020 annual monitoring report.

25-27 March (Thursday-Saturday): The Real Gate real estate exhibition, Egyptian International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

29-30 March (Monday-Tuesday): Arab Federation of Exchanges Annual Conference 2021.

29-30 March (Monday-Tuesday): Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport Startup Festival, Sharm El Sheikh.

31 March (Wednesday): Deadline to visit the moroor and get an RFID sticker affixed to your car’s windshield — or run afoul of the Traffic Police.

31 March (Wednesday): Income tax deadline for individuals. Real estate tax deadline.

1-3 April (Thursday-Saturday): HVAC-R Egypt Expo.

6 April (Tuesday): French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Egypt working breakfast with Sovereign Fund of Egypt CEO Ayman Soliman.

7 April (Wednesday): British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) webinar on digital banking and fintech.

8-10 April (Thursday-Saturday): The TriFactory’s Endurance Festival at Somabay.

13 April (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

25 April (Sunday): Sinai Liberation Day.

29 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC),

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

1 May (Saturday): Labor Day (national holiday).

2 May (Sunday): Easter Sunday.

3 May (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

13-15 May (Thursday-Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

25-28 May (Tuesday-Friday): The World Economic Forum annual meeting, Singapore.

1 June (Tuesday): The IMF will conduct a second review of targets set under the USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved in June 2020 (proposed date).

7-9 June (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

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

17-20 June (Thursday-Sunday) : The International Exhibition of Materials and Technologies for Finishing and Construction (Turnkey Expo), Cairo International Conference Center.

24 June (Thursday): End of the 2020-2021 academic year (public schools).

26-29 June (Saturday-Tuesday): The Big 5 Construct Egypt, Cairo International Convention Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 June (Wednesday): 30 June Revolution Day.

30 June- 15 July: National Book Fair.

1 July: (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 30 June Revolution.

1 July (Thursday): Large taxpayers that have not yet signed on on to the e-invoicing platform will suffer a host of penalties, including removal from large taxpayer classification, losing access to government services and business, and losing subsidies.

19 July (Monday): Arafat Day (national holiday).

20-23 July (Tuesday-Friday): Eid Al Adha (national holiday)

23 July (Friday): Revolution Day (national holiday).

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

9 August (Monday): Islamic New Year.

12 August (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Islamic New Year.

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

30 September-2 October (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Projects 2021 expo, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

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

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday.

21 October (Thursday): National holiday in observance of the Prophet’s Birthday.

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

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

13-17 December: United Nations Convention against Corruption, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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

27 June – 3 July 2022 (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

Note to readers: Some national holidays may appear twice above. Since 2020, Egypt has observed most mid-week holidays on Thursdays regardless of the day on which they fall and may also move those days to Sundays. We distinguish below between the actual holiday and its observance.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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