Thursday, 15 July 2021

ADQ snags 99% of Amoun Pharma in MTO

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen — and that’s a wrap on EnterpriseAM until we return from the Eid break, when we’ll be back in your inboxes on Sunday, 25 July. Stay tuned this afternoon for the final EnterprisePM issue before the holiday.

We have two big M&A stories for you this morning: Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ’s mandatory tender offer for Amoun Pharma saw it snag a 99% stake in the Bausch Health subsidiary during the subscription period, which wrapped up yesterday. And in a major piece of startup news, Egyptian events management company Eventtus has been snapped up by Cali-based Bevy. We have more on both these stories in the news well, below.


EGX election results announced: The EGX has announced the results of yesterday’s election, which was held to decide who will sit on its board of directors for the 2021-2025 term, Youm7 reports. Twelve candidates were competing for five seats on the board, three of whom will represent brokerages and asset managers, one will represent companies listed on the main exchange, and one for Nilex-listed firms. The victors are as follows:

  • 3Way Finance Chair Rania Yacoub (LinkedIn) and Prime Securities Brokerage Managing Director Shawkat El Maraghy (LinkedIn) will represent brokerage companies after receiving 145 votes and 133 votes respectively;
  • Azimut Egypt Asset Management Managing Director Ahmed Abou El Saad (LinkedIn) won 169 votes and will represent asset managers;
  • Odin Investments CEO Hashem El Sayed (bio) ran unopposed and will represent EGX-listed companies;
  • Integrated Engineering Group Managing Director Dalia Al Sawah (bio) will represent Nilex-listed companies.

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

  • Nine Egyptian companies to manage and operate national rail system: Private-sector players will manage all of the country’s under-construction “modern means of transportation,” under a cooperation protocol signed with the National Railways Authority.
  • Cabinet approves EV tariffs: Proposed energy tariffs for EV charging stations won the cabinet’s signoff yesterday, covering both the cost of electricity sold to charging stations as well as charging costs to end users.
  • Miami based Aleph Holding acquires 86% of Connect Ads: The latter company is a subsidiary of tech investor A15, which divested its controlling 86% stake in a cash and share swap agreement of an undisclosed value.

MARKET WATCH- Powell stays dovish as inflation rises: Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell yesterday downplayed the likelihood that the central bank could tighten monetary policy earlier than expected in response to rising inflation, and reiterated his belief that price growth will soon temper as the post-pandemic global economy normalizes. Data this week showed that US inflation surpassed all forecasts in June to accelerate at its fastest pace since 2008, increasing concerns that prices will rise still further in the months ahead and calling into question the Fed’s “transitory” hypothesis.

A policy change is “a ways off”: Speaking during a congressional hearing, Powell said that the Fed won’t taper its bond-buying programme or raise interest rates until it sees “substantial further progress” in the US inflation and employment targets, which he said remains “a ways off.” US interest rates are currently at near-zero and the Fed is buying bonds worth USD 120 bn each month to support the economy (and asset prices) through the pandemic — a huge stimulus program some worry is causing the economy to overheat.

A slight change of script on inflation: Powell said that he expects inflation to “remain elevated in coming months before moderating.” Earlier this year Fed officials were briefing that heightened inflation could last for a few months.

The markets seem satisfied that the dove isn’t about to turn hawk: US stocks made slight gains and bond yields fell during trading yesterday as investor concerns about how the Fed might react to rising inflation eased. The 10-year yields fell back below 1.4% while tech companies led the benchmark S&P 500 index higher, in a reversal from Tuesday that saw both stocks and bonds suffer losses in reaction to the Juen inflation data.

The story dominated front pages in the global press: Reuters | The Wall Street Journal | Bloomberg | CNBC | FT.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Expect a decision on fuel prices in the coming days: The government’s fuel pricing committee has been in talks since the beginning of the month over whether to raise, cut or leave on hold fuel prices during 3Q2021. We were expecting to hear something yesterday but a government official had suggested that a decision could instead be made later in the month.

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

enterprise

M&A WATCH

Shareholders agree to sell 99% of Amoun Pharma to ADQ

ADQ looks like it’s getting almost all of Amoun: Amoun Pharma shareholders have agreed to sell a 99.9% stake in the company to Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ in a mandatory tender offer, the EGX said in a statement yesterday. The 10-day subscription period for the MTO, which expired yesterday, saw shareholders sell 271.78 mn of the company's 272.2 mn shares to ADQ subsidiary Ultra Welfare, according to the statement. The MTO was approved by the Financial Regulatory Authority late last month, and saw ADQ offer to purchase shares for EGP 37.8 a piece, valuing the company at almost EGP 10.3 bn (USD 655.4 mn).

The Sovereign Fund of Egypt is partnering with ADQ on the acquisition: Though details are scant, the SFE was said in February to be gunning for a 10% stake once the transaction is complete.

Who’s the seller? Amoun Pharma is almost entirely owned by Canada-based Bausch Health, but a small proportion of its shares (less than 1%) is held by other minority shareholders. The company is offloading the unit to reduce its debt load and prepare for the spin-off of its eye health business, it said in March.

What are the terms? Local press reports that Ultra Welfare won't be allowed to merge Amoun with another company or lay off any of its employees for at least one year after wrapping up the transaction,

What now? ADQ should finalize the purchase of the shares within five working days of the MTO’s expiration.

Advisors: Prime Capital was assigned as the financial advisor to the transaction and EFG Hermes acted as the broker, while Matouk Bassiouny & Henawy was a legal advisor. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley served as financial advisors to Bausch Health, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz provided legal counsel.

STARTUP WATCH

Egyptian events startup Eventtus acquired by US’ Bevy

US event management platform Bevy has acquired Egyptian startup Eventtus, the company announced in a statement (pdf) yesterday. Bevy, which provides an end-to-end conferencing and virtual events platform, will integrate Eventtus’ technology into its services and bring its 20 staff members, including founders Mai Medhat and Nihal Fares, onto the Bevy team. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

What will each company bring to the table? Eventtus’ mobile in-person conference app and its other engagement tools will be integrated into Bevy’s tech stack, helping it to offer a more comprehensive service covering virtual, in-person and hybrid events. Bevy will provide scale, in terms of its global offering and customer base, which includes Facebook, Google and Salesforce.

And what will the company structure look like? Medhat will be appointed VP of innovation and will lead growth and development across all departments, while co-founder Fares will be director of product management, responsible for product integration and everything around in-person, hybrid and virtual events. All this will take place under Bevy’s name. “We will leverage the Eventtus brand as well, but how exactly that will happen we’ll figure out in the coming months,” Medhat adds. The company’s official HQ will be in Palo Alto, California.

Bevy was one of Eventtus’ customers, according to founder of Eventtus Mai Medhat, who tells us that they had known Bevy’s CEO and co-founder Derek Andersen for the past four years and had worked together on several events around the world. The discussions about an acquisition came along after Bevy raised USD 40 mn in a series C funding round in March.

The main ingredient that led to this moment was Eventtus’ investment in its product and user experience from day one, Medhat explains.We never compromised on the technical aspect and user experience, and we hired accordingly,” she adds. “This was the best investment we ever put in our company.” Additionally, the company had always tried to reach out to international clients to broaden its scope beyond the region – and that is how Bevy came along.

About Eventtus: Eventtus is an event tech company that empowers conferences and exhibitions in 35 countries to create virtual, in-person and hybrid event experiences using tech solutions. The different solutions it offers event planners include a mobile event app, virtual events platform, ticketing and registration, lead retrieval app and business intelligence reports.

It has attracted some of the biggest regional and global tech investors since its inception in 2012, including Algebra Ventures and 500 Startups.

COVID WATCH

1 mn Sinovac vaccines coming this week

Egypt will receive 1 mn doses of the Sinovac vaccine before the end of next week, Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a cabinet meeting yesterday. The Chinese company last week delivered a 500k-dose shipment of the vaccine, while Egypt has locally produced its first 1 mn doses of home-made Sinovac, with aims to manufacture as many as 80 mn by the end of the year.

Plasma donation campaign rolled out nationwide: The ministry launched yesterday a national plasma donation campaign as part of efforts to manufacture and become self-sufficient in plasma derivatives, which have proven useful in the treatment of covid patients.

We appear to have lost two plasma collection centers: Zayed said in February that the ministry has set up eight collection centers around the country, but in her statement yesterday said that we actually have six, located in Giza, Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta and Minya. The ministry plans to complete equipping 20 centers this year, Zayed said.

Who can participate? All citizens aged above 18 years are encouraged to donate every two weeks.

Background: A bill regulating blood donation and the manufacturing and collection of plasma was greenlit in April by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi after gaining a final approval from the House a month earlier..

The Health Ministry reported 89 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down from 108 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 283,409 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported six new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,418.

IN REGIONAL COVID NEWS-

WHO warns of “catastrophic” covid-19 surge in Middle East: The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a significant upsurge of covid-19 infections in the Middle East, describing the situation as "critical" in a statement yesterday. “This is being aggravated by new variants circulating – most concerningly the delta variant – low vaccine availability and uptake, and lack of adherence to public health and social measures,” said Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. The WHO expressed particular concern about Eid Al Adha, which it said could fuel a steeper rise in cases with “catastrophic consequences.”

Which countries should worry? Libya, Iran, Iraq and Tunisia are reporting a resurgence in new infections, while Lebanon and Morocco started to follow suit and are expected to see a surge in the coming weeks.

TOURISM

A watchful eye

Russia wants to keep a close eye on Egypt after allowing Red Sea flights to resume: Russia is proposing to set up a Russian-Egyptian group that will conduct “round-the-clock monitoring” of the situation in Egypt to protect Russian tourists, Russian news agency Tass reports. The idea has been put forward by the government’s tourism body, which says the group would be primarily responsible for monitoring Egypt’s covid epidemic and how authorities are handling the situation “to ensure safe and comfortable stay of tourists.”

The proposal comes a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the six-year flight ban on direct flights between Russia and Egypt’s Red Sea destinations that was put in place following the 2015 Metrojet crash in Sinai.

Most importantly: We’re still unsure when charter flights will resume. No airlines have yet come forward with announcements for new flight routes since the decision was made to end the ban last week.

EARNINGS WATCH

CIRA net income up 40% in 9M 2020-2021

Private sector education outfit CIRA’s net income rose 40% to EGP 462.1 mn in the first nine months of its fiscal year, which ends on 31 August, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues during the period climbed to EGP 1.3 bn, up 28% y-o-y from last year. Top line growth was driven by an uptick in enrollment — with K-12 enrollment up 7% y-o-y, and higher-ed enrollment up 26% — alongside the inauguration of Regent School in New Mansoura last year.

CIRA raised its controlling stake in the British Columbia Canadian International School (BCCIS) in 9M2020-2021 through the acquisition of a 20% stake in its parent company, Star Light Educational DMCC Corporation, bringing its total share in BCCIS to 80%. CIRA is also expanding its footprint across new urban areas such as New Rashid and New Sohag. The company will also roll out 25 new nurseries through its new subsidiary, Innovvette, within five years.

Also in the company’s pipeline: The inauguration of three new faculties at its Badr University Cairo, with admissions set to open as of the upcoming academic year bringing the total number of operational faculties at BUC to 16. CIRA is in parallel working on Egypt’s first applied tech university — slated for opening by the start of the 2022-2023 academic year.

Looking ahead: Construction is “on track for completion” at CIRA’s BCCIS and Saxony International School in O West at the Sixth of October, CEO Mohamed El Kalla said. Also, “the construction of Badr University in Assiut is advancing on schedule, with the university currently in the process of obtaining its required licensing.” CIRA expects to close out the final quarter of its fiscal year and enter the new academic year in September with momentum to continue delivering growth, particularly with the company’s “ongoing commitment to the success of [its] students” and “mission to enable economic mobility,” according to El Kalla.

enterprise

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

GERD was the only topic of note on the airwaves yesterday: Outgoing British Ambassador to Egypt Geoffrey Adams made an appearance on Sherif Amer’s Yahduth Fi Masr to discuss several topics including the GERD file (watch, runtime 24:07). The UK doesn't want to intervene in the GERD talks but is working toward making Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia go back to the negotiating table the soonest under the umbrella of the AU to reach a “positive” resolution, he noted.

And in other GERD/Nile miscellany: Saudi Arabia’s call for a “clear mechanism” to start negotiations between the three countries got coverage in Hadeeth Al Kahira (watch, runtime 1:13), while Egypt’s diplomatic efforts to block the dam and protect its water security got attention in Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime 9:34). Danish Ambassador to Egypt Svend Olling had a phone interview with Amer to talk about the video he recently shot for the Nile, saying that the EU is cooperating with Egypt on combating climate change and its possible consequences on the Nile (watch, runtime 9:02).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Human rights is leading the agenda in the foreign press this morning: The US State Department is “concerned” about the targeting of civil society members, academics and journalists in Egypt, and has asked the government not to detain individuals including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights’ Hossam Bahgat for “expressing their views peacefully," US state department spokesperson Ned Price said in a presser yesterday (watch, runtime 1:13). Bahgat said this week that he had been indicted by the Public Prosecutor for spreading rumors and criticizing the National Election Authority on social media. Price refused to comment on whether it could affect US arms sales to Egypt. Reuters and AFP both have the story.

Meanwhile: Reuters reports that the Court of Cassation has rejected an appeal by 13 people to have their names removed from a terrorist list, citing a judicial source. The individuals include Palestinian-Egyptian activist Ramy Shaath, who was arrested in July 2019, and human rights activist Zyad Elelaimy, who was arrested a month earlier. The group was ordered to be added to the terrorism list for five years starting April 2020 after being accused of inciting against the state.

Egypt also gets a mention in the Financial Times: Author Mark C O’Flaherty describes his stopover experience in Egypt, which turned out to be an enjoyable visit despite worries about covid-19.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Other things we’re keeping an eye on this morning:

  • French rail manufacturer Alstom has installed (pdf) an automated signalling system on the 15-km Quseia section of the Beni Suef-Assiut railway line.
  • The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has rolled out (pdf) a new instant money transfer service that allows the state-owned bank’s customers to transfer funds to their prepaid debit cards through its ATMs nationwide.
  • Russia’s Transmashholding has delivered another 33 passenger rail cars to Egypt, bringing the total to 460 under the EUR 1.16 bn agreement that will see 1.3k cars sent to Egypt.

PLANET FINANCE

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Oil falls amid rumours of Saudi-UAE oil supply agreement: Oil prices fell back yesterday after press reports suggested that Saudi Arabia and the UAE had come to an agreement over increasing oil supply. The price of Brent fell 2.3% to USD 74.76 on the news, which could pave the way for new barrels to enter the market, calming prices which have surged 50% this year due to tightening supply.

Has Riyadh backed down? An OPEC+ source told Reuters that Saudi Arabia has agreed to the UAE’s demands to increase its production quota. At the center of the dispute was a proposal to extend current supply curbs until the end of 2022 from April 2022, which Abu Dhabi refused to sign onto unless it was allowed to pump more oil under current production restrictions. Up until (perhaps) yesterday, Riyadh has refused to accept the demands, insisting that Abu Dhabi stick with the same quota and agree to extending the cuts.

It’s not official yet: A final agreement is yet to be reached between both countries and negotiations are still ongoing. The UAE's Energy Ministry also denied reaching an agreement but confirmed the ongoing talks.

A little bit more oil would be nice right now: The International Energy Agency this week warned that in the absence of an agreement, supply will “tighten significantly,” putting further upward pressure on prices. Brent has already risen to its highest level since late 2018, and some analysts have forecast a return to USD 100/bbl oil.

What’s next? The OPEC+ is expected to schedule a new meeting soon, one delegate to the group said.

The story dominated coverage in global business press yesterday: Bloomberg | FT | Reuters.

Abraaj former finance chief handed record fine in Dubai’s history: Ashish Dave, former finance chief of the now-defunct private equity group Abraaj, has been fined USD 1.7 mn by the Dubai Financial Services Authority on charges of “deception, unauthorized activity, and compliance breaches,” according to a notice by Dubai’s regulator. This is the largest ever fine handed out to an individual by the regulator. Abraaj, which was one of the region's biggest buyout funds, collapsed in 2019 after investors suspected the mismanagement of their money in its USD 1 bn healthcare fund. Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi and other senior executives now face criminal charges including racketeering and fraud from US prosecutors. The story got coverage in Reuters, Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

Other financial news worth noting this morning:

  • Abu Dhabi just pulled off its first IPO since 2017: Satellite operator Yahsat had its trading debut in Abu Dhabi yesterday, rising as much as 13% before closing 1.8% in the green, according to Bloomberg. Yahsat is owned by Abu Dhabi sovereign fund Mubadala Investment, which is holding onto its majority stake in the company. Yahsat is one of three portfolio companies that Mubadala could IPO this year which include a local listing of Emirates Global Aluminium and a US listing of semiconductor producer Globalfoundries, according to Reuters.
  • China is more popular than ever among global investors: Foreign investment in the Chinese capital markets has shrugged off concerns over Xinjiang and Hong Kong to grow at a record pace over the past year, with holdings of stocks and bonds surging 40% to more than USD 800 bn, the Financial Times reports. Foreign investors have purchased stocks worth USD 35.5 bn and treasuries worth USD 75 bn, both roughly 50% higher than foreign holdings of those assets this time last year and the steepest ever y-o-y increase in the country’s history.
  • Mashreqbank wants to go 100% digital: The Dubai-based lender is aiming to soon close its 10 remaining brick-and-mortar branches across the UAE and become a fully digital bank, CEO Ahmed Abdelaal tells Bloomberg. The Dubai-based bank has already cut its branches by two-thirds over the past two years, as more of its clients have made the switch to digital banking.

Up

EGX30

10,602

+1.6% (YTD: -2.2%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.64

Sell 15.74

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.64

Sell 15.74

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

10,778

+0.4% (YTD: +24.0%)

Up

ADX

7,079

+0.5% (YTD: +40.3%)

Down

DFM

2,755

-0.2% (YTD: +10.6%)

Up

S&P 500

4,374

+0.1% (YTD: +16.5%)

Down

FTSE 100

7,091

-0.5% (YTD: +9.8%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 74.76

-2.3%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 3.66

-1.0%

Up

Gold

USD 1,825.00

+0.8%

Up

BTC

USD 32,864

+0.9% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 1.6% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.89 bn (36.2% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 2.2% YTD.

In the green: Fawry (+4.7%), GB Auto (+3.5%) and Eastern Company (+3.5%).

In the red: MM Group (-1.9%), Oriental Weavers (-1.7%) and Orascom Financial Holding (-0.3%).

Asian markets are mostly in the green in early trading this morning, while futures indicate a mixed open in Europe and early losses in the US/

AROUND THE WORLD

Crunch talks in Lebanon: Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Al Hariri yesterday handed President Michel Aoun a new list of names for his proposed cabinet, in a meeting that reports have suggested is Hariri’s last-ditch attempt to form a government. For the past nine months, Hariri and Aoun have been unable to agree on a cabinet, leaving the country without a government as its economy slips deeper into crisis.

Egypt doesn’t want Hariri to give up: During talks in Cairo yesterday, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi told Hariri that the Egyptian government will give him its full support to form a government, Ittihadiya said in a statement following the meeting. A report on Al Hadath TV channel claimed that Egypt has explicitly urged the PM-designate not to give up, and that it will soon send a delegation to Beirut (watch, runtime: 1:53:20).

Also worth knowing this morning:

  • Abu Dhabi now has an embassy in Tel Aviv: The UAE has become the first Gulf country to establish an embassy in Israel, yesterday opening its diplomatic HQ in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. This comes almost a year after Israel, the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords, which established formal diplomatic relations between the Gulf countries and Israel for the first time.
  • Now it’s Turkey’s turn to make overtures to Israel: Turkey and Israel agreed to work on mending relations after a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Israel counterpart Isaac Herzog. Both countries expelled each other’s ambassadors in 2018 over killing dozens of Palestinians in clashes on the Gaza border.

MY MORNING ROUTINE

James Harmon, chairman of the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund: Each week, my Morning Routine looks 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 James Harmon, Chairman of the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund (EAEF). Edited excerpts from our conversation:

I’m James Harmon, chairman of the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, a private investment fund created by the United States Congress in 2011 to help strengthen Egypt’s private sector following the 2011 revolution and a sharp decline in tourism and foreign direct investment. To date, we have worked with five first-time fund managers to invest over USD 200 mn in over 75 companies that support more than 15k jobs. Our investments have helped attract USD 447 mn in FDI to Egypt.

When I arrived in Cairo on my first trip in 2012, foreign investment had dried up in Egypt. The political crisis at the time had frightened investors. I realized early on that for us to be successful, EAEF would have to be an Egyptian-led effort. In 2014, we “Egyptianized” the fund by seeding a team of talented Egyptian, financial professionals to serve as our investment advisors. Today, all our portfolio managers are Egyptian and almost all members of our board of directors are Egyptian or Egyptian-American who speak Arabic and have deep private sector experience in Egypt.

We made our first investment in 2015 with Fawry. It's the dream of every investor to hit a home run on their first investment. Fawry achieved this after becoming Egypt’s largest e-payments platform that now serves close to a third of the population, and recently became the country’s first “unicorn” when its market valuation surpassed USD 1 bn. We made our second investment in Sarwa Capital, Egypt’s largest non-banking financial services provider, now known as Contact Financial, which also helps extend access to finance for Egypt’s large unbanked population.

An important lesson in life for those who are investors: when things look darkest, it is usually the best time to invest. That was true of Egypt in 2015 as demonstrated by the success of our early investments.

The pandemic was similar to what we experienced when we first arrived in Egypt and the private sector needed foreign investment. We had to double down in our support for Egypt’s private sector, much like we did in 2015. We loaned Fawry Microfinance USD 10 mn to support small and micro businesses. We agreed to take the first loss on the loan, which banks generally don't do, in order to expand additional financing to businesses impacted by the pandemic. We also co-invested in the largest healthcare operator in the Nile Delta region. Later in the year, we helped our long-time investment advisor, Lorax Capital Partners, close its first, independent investment fund by committing USD 50 mn in one of the only closings in the MENA region in 2020. `

We work closely with all our companies to introduce them to US investors and provide capacity building and technical assistance to expand their businesses. We introduced our investee, then Sarwa Capital, to Prudential Financial, one of the largest ins. companies in the US, which is now helping expand the company’s newly established life ins. business. We also helped our investee, Dawi Clinics, expand its telehealth services to reach more Egyptians during the pandemic.

We’re currently looking for someone to serve as EAEF’s on-the-ground representative in Cairo. Having someone work with our portfolio companies and source new investment opportunities will help us ramp up our support to Egypt’s private sector.

In 2019 we started to shift our attention toward investing in high-impact development sectors such as healthcare, education, and agriculture. We’re now considering investments in infrastructure. I serve as co-chairman of the World Resources Institute, a leading global environmental think tank, and I hope to be able to leverage their expertise to help Egypt tackle climate change and urban transport.

So far we’ve invested over USD 200 mn and committed almost all of the original USD 300 mn the US government allocated to the EAEF. The market value of our portfolio is over USD 600 mn. In my opinion, it likely exceeds USD 700 mn. Our rate of return is greater than 20% per annum and has piqued the interest of US institutions who now want to invest in Egypt.

We have a staff of seven people located in New York that help oversee our investments and portfolio managers. As prescribed by our legislation, EAEF’s board of directors must consist of six US citizens (currently, three of the six are Egyptian-American) and three Egyptian citizens. Previously, our staff traveled to Egypt quarterly but now many meetings have moved to Zoom because of covid. We are planning to begin traveling to Egypt soon. Our team in New York helps monitor EAEF’s finances, measure our development impact and manage relationships with stakeholders in Egypt and the US We are now beginning to market Egypt to US institutions and family investment offices.

Getting back the time previously spent travelling and commuting has been convenient, although It's always better to be with people and build relationships. I would say we’ve improved our level of communication with Cairo and calls with our portfolio managers have increased significantly. We’ve been able to increase communication among our team because we are on the phone every morning reviewing what we are working on.

Not everyone is eager to return to the office full-time after a year working from home. We are working in the office one day a week and as needed to accommodate in-person meetings and partners traveling from Egypt. We will begin two days a week in September. Like many companies we are navigating a hybrid work model that aims to be flexible and most efficient for our organization.

Our challenge today is to employ the additional capital we have remaining into investments that improve Egyptians’ quality of life and support the country’s socio-economic development. We are recalibrating our strategy and are eager to support more fund managers in Egypt.

I personally managed to write a book during lockdown that will be published sometime in November 2021. It's a memoir I’ve named “Up and Doing,” which is a phrase that comes from a poem my father would wake my sister and me up with every morning when we were children called “A Psalm of Life” by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The main theme of the poem is making the most out of life. I would never have had the time to write this book if it wasn’t for covid.

I usually wake up at 7 am and the first thing I do every morning is stretch. Over years of playing tennis, I've sustained minor injuries, so I stretch and do some exercises in the morning to stay fit. The second thing I do is check emails and read Enterprise, the New York Times, and the Financial Times. When the weather is warm, I swim laps in my pool and eat a light breakfast with fruit and vegetable juice. After that it’s calls or Zoom meetings for the rest of the day.

This past year I've spent two to three hours a day writing my book. At some point in the late afternoon, I work out again, have dinner and spend some time reading in the evenings before bed. During the weekend I like to play golf and tennis. I also have a little vegetable garden that I maintain as a hobby. There's nothing better than going outside and picking your own tomato.

Although I’m a lifelong reader, I haven't read as much as I normally do this year. Recently I read Barack Obama’s autobiography, “A Promised Land.” As our nation’s first African American president, he is an important historical figure and someone I am lucky to know personally. Another book I enjoyed is Peter Hessler’s “The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution.” It was an interesting read that provided rich insight into the lives of ordinary Egyptians.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was from my father who said, “you learn more by listening than from talking.”

CALENDAR

July: The government’s fuel pricing committee will meet to announce 3Q prices.

Mid-July: Legislative session expected to end.

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

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

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

23 July-11 August (Friday-Wednesday): Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

28 July (Wednesday): Clean Energy Business Council’s webinar Women entrepreneurs in clean energy (3pm)

2-4 August (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt is hosting the Africa Food Manufacturing exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

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.

3-5 September (Friday-Sunday): The World Karate Federation will hold the third competition of the 2021 Karate 1-Premier League in Cairo.

12-15 September (Sunday-Wednesday): Sahara Expo: the 33rd International Agricultural Exhibition for Africa and the Middle East.

15 September (Wednesday): The CFO Leadership & Strategy Summit is taking place in Egypt.

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.

30 September-8 October (Thursday-Friday): The Cairo International Fair, Cairo International Conference Center, Cairo, Egypt.

30 September: Closing of 2021’s first oil and gas tender in the Gulf of Suez, Western Desert, and the Mediterranean.

1 October (Friday): Businesses importing goods at seaports will need to file shipping documents and cargo data digitally to the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system.

1 October (Friday): Expo 2020 Dubai opens.

1 October (Friday): State-owned companies and government service bodies selling goods and services to customers that have not yet signed 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.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

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

12-14 October (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

18 October (Monday): Prophet’s Birthday.

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

24-28 October (Sunday-Thursday) Cairo Water Week, Cairo, Egypt.

27-28 October (Wednesday-Thursday) Intelligent Cities Exhibition & Conference, Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski, Cairo, Egypt.

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

30 October – 4 November (Saturday-Thursday): The first edition of Race The Legends, Egypt.

November: The French-Egyptian Business Forum is set to take place in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

1-3 November (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Energy exhibition on power and renewable energy, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

November: Egypt will host another round of talks to reach a potential Egyptian-Eurasian trade agreement, which can significantly contribute to increasing the volume of Egyptian exports to the Russia-led bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

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

29 November-2 December (Monday-Thursday): Egypt Defense Expo.

12-14 December (Sunday-Tuesday): Food Africa Cairo trade exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

14-16 February 2022 (Monday-Wednesday): Egypt Petroleum Show, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo, Egypt.

1H2022: The World Economic Forum annual meeting, location TBD.

May 2022: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

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