Wednesday, 18 August 2021

CIRA, ElSewedy Capital joint venture will pour bns into education



Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to a pleasantly brisk news morning.

THE BIG STORY THIS MORNING: Our back-to-school theme continues, with a big joint venture set to see bns in fresh investment pouring into the nation’s red-hot education sector. Meanwhile, thanaweya amma results are out and pressure is ramping up for teachers to get jabbed ahead of the start of term for public schools in October. We have all of this and more below.

The new Qatari ambassador to Cairo landed yesterday: Salem bin Mubarak Al Shafi is expected to present his credentials to authorities and take up his official duties in the coming days. Egypt and Qatar re-established diplomatic ties earlier this year, following their severing in 2017 over Doha’s continued support for the Ikhwan.

Veteran Egyptian stage and screen writer Faisal Nada passed away at 81 yesterday: Nada was the pen behind plays that have cemented themselves in Egyptian pop culture, including the comedy Al Motazawegoon. The Culture Ministry called for a minute of silence before every stage performance yesterday to honor the late writer’s life, Sky News Arabia reports.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis could visit Egypt in mid-October to discuss ways to cooperate in tourism and other fields, state news agency MENA reports.

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

  • Remittances on the rise: Egyptians working abroad sent USD 2.6 bn back home in May, a 50% increase from May 2020, according to central bank figures released yesterday.
  • Earnings: Elsewedy Electric’s net income soared 73% to nearly EGP 974 mn in 2Q2021.
  • Tycoon acquires 85% of ANFI: The EGX confirmed yesterday that Tycoon Holding has acquired an 85% stake in brokerage and investment bank Alexandria National Company for Financial Investment (ANFI) from the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD on this fine morning: It’s all Taliban, all the time.

The Biden administration has frozen the Taliban’s access to Afghan government reserves in US banks as US President Joe Biden comes under pressure to take crucial decisions on the economic fate of the war-ravaged country, the Washington Post reports, quoting two people in the know. The move aims to cut the Taliban’s access to funds left by the previous government. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price suggested the US has not ruled out the possibility Washington recognizing the Taliban as Afghanistan’s next rulers, but added that the US was still in talks with the international community over the matter.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp has blocked an official Taliban complaint helpline in Kabul, but is facing criticism from Afghans for cutting off a key means of communication, the Financial Times reports. The helpline, which was used back in 2016 when the Taliban took control of Kunduz, has been used by many NGOs as well as the United Nations to report looting and stolen property. Facebook, the owner of WhatsApp, defended their actions by stating that they were obliged to prevent the Taliban from using their software because Washington has designated the group as a terrorist organization.

OTHER THINGS that should be on your radar this morning:

  • The London Stock Exchange is about to lose one of its biggest listings as Australian miner BHP “said it would unify its dual-corporate structure and shift its primary stock market listing to Australia.” (Financial Times)
  • The Palestinian Authority has sent firefighters and vehicles to Israel to help put out fires in and around Jerusalem. (Twitter)
  • The Windows version of Apple’s iCloud service has rolled out support for the company’s password management app — and works with the Edge and Chrome browsers. (Rene Ritchie is a good Twitter follow, but check out his Youtube channel if you’re a real Apple nerd.)

PSA- We’re heading into a heat wave just in time for the weekend, with the mercury set to break north of 40°C today through Sunday, according to our favourite weather app.


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New JV will pour bns into education

Big plans from what could be Egypt’s biggest education consortium: Private sector education outfit CIRA and privately owned investment company Elsewedy Capital Holding will build and run an EGP 2.5 bn private university in New Damietta through their joint venture Cairo Egypt for Education (CEE), according to a press release (pdf). The New Urban Communities Authority has allocated the JV a 58-feddan plot of land in New Damietta on which to build the facility.

CEE has big plans: CIRA and Elsewedy Capital Holding have said they want to, “create the largest platform created around private education in the country.” The two sides also plan to partner on other education projects, including in K-12 education.

The JV will open two new K-12 schools next month: CEE intends to roll out two “fully-owned” schools in West Cairo starting next month: Saxony International School (SIS) and British Columbia Canadian International School (BCCIS, in which CIRA owns a controlling stake. They will also open new branches of Regent School across new demographics, with “other educational projects in the pipeline.”

The yet-unnamed university is set to open its doors for students in the 2023-2024 academic year, when phase one of the project will be complete, the statement said. In total, the university will include 16 faculties and is poised to serve 25k students locally and regionally. “We believe that Egypt is more than Cairo and Alexandria, that’s why our focus will be directed to the underserved governorates that are in need of quality private sector education,” said Elsewedy Capital Holding CEO Haytham Sabry.

Also in CIRA’s pipeline: EGX-listed CIRA will open Egypt’s first applied tech university by the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, under an agreement signed in June with Saxony International School (SIS), a German private-sector education provider. The institute will launch at CIRA’s Badr University, before being rolled out to other locations around the country. The education outfit is also planning to invest up to EGP 500 mn to set up four language schools in Qena, New Assiut, New Rashid and El Alamein by 2022, CEO Mohamed El Kalla previously said.

What’s Elsewedy Capital Holding? The privately held company, described on its LinkedIn profile as the “family office” of Elsewedy Electric chief Ahmed Elsewedy, invests in real estate (Mangroovy), higher education (the Knowledge Hub in the new administrative capital), and non-bank financial services (Mada Ins, Easylease).


Raya’s Aman to tap debt market this year

Raya Holding subsidiary Aman intends to issue EGP 500 mn of securitized bonds before the end of 2021, a source at Raya told us, confirming a story in Al Mal. The bonds will be issued by consumer finance company Aman Financial Services and will be sold by the special purpose vehicle Aman Securitization, which is expected to begin operating in the upcoming few days after finalizing the required legal procedures.

Aman had previously offered securitized bonds worth at least EGP 562 mn by three of its subsidiaries, Aman For Financial Services, Aman Microfinance and Raya Electronics. The company had said earlier this year that it planned to sell EGP 600 mn in securitized bonds in 1Q2021 to fund its expansion plans.

Aman is still on track for an IPO that could see its shares debut on the EGX anytime starting late 2021 or 2022, sources told the local press in January, a week after the National Bank of Egypt acquired a 24% stake in the company.

Need a refresher on securitized bonds? We’ve got you covered here.


Number of telecom-backed mobile wallet transactions up 175% in 1Q2021

The number of telecom-backed mobile wallets in Egypt jumped 16% y-o-y to reach 16.3 mn in the first half of 2021, according to a National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) report (pdf). Mobile wallet transactions also skyrocketed 175% y-o-y to record 81 mn in 1H2021, up from 29.5 mn in the first half of 2020. The average value of a transfer between mobile wallets was EGP 1.2k, while the average value of a purchase made through a mobile wallet was EGP 175.

Vodafone still has the biggest slice of the e-wallet pie: Vodafone Cash wallets account for 65% of all telecom-backed mobile wallets, followed by Orange (20%), Etisalat (11%), and We (4%), which has managed to capture an extra 3% of the market share since the NTRA’s last survey. Orange, meanwhile, is down 3 points in total market share.

If you’re over 50, odds are good you’re no using an e-wallet: 29% of users are aged between 26-35, while 26% are 36-45 year olds, and 17% 16-25 year olds. In the older demographic, 16% of e-wallet users are 46-55, and 12% are over 55.

Gender and geographic divides are starker: 70% of mobile wallet users are men, while 33% hail from the three governorates of Cairo, Giza and Alexandria.

E-payments are more than a pandemic fad: The figures chime with the 17% upswing in the use of telecom companies’ mobile wallets during March-October 2020, suggesting that growth in the sector has been sustained beyond the era of lockdowns and stringent distancing measures.

What’s a telecom-backed mobile wallet? What’s a mobile wallet? Heck, what’s a mobile? We explain everything here.


School employees need to sign up for jabs by 31 August

Unvaccinated employees in the education industry should register to be vaccinated through the Health Ministry’s website before 31 August as part of the government’s bid to vaccinate educators and students before the start of the new academic year, Health Minister Hala Zayed said yesterday, according to a cabinet statement. President Abdelfattah El Sisi had earlier this week directed officials to come up with a plan to administer vaccines to all teachers and students before the upcoming academic year.

State employees in the education sector will be asked to register through a special page that will be created on the website, after which they should receive a message offering them an appointment within 72 hours, the minister said. The government is also planning on dedicating several of the 580 vaccination centers nationwide to the push to vaccinate educators, under an agreement between the Health and Higher Education Ministries, Zayed said.

Remember: Staying unjabbed may soon restrict your access to campus, with Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad saying on Monday that covid-19 vaccination at school communities could become mandatory at some point in the near future. AUC has already announced that only vaccinated students and staff will be allowed to return to campus this fall.

Next up on the vaccine priority list: Public sector and industrial workers, particularly those working in the extractive industries, for major companies, and at industrial zones, Zayed said.

Egypt received a 299.7k dose shipment of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine Monday, gifted to us by the UK, and delivered through the Gavi / Covax program, according to a statement by the UK embassy in Egypt yesterday. The shipment is part of the first batch of the 100 mn doses the UK has pledged to share with countries around the world within the next year. We received 1.76 mn shots of AstraZeneca through Covax last Friday.

The Health Ministry reported 112 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 107 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 285,577 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 5 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,630.

MEANWHILE- CureVac says its second-generation mRNA jab created with GlaxoSmithKline outperformed its first vaccine candidate in pre-clinical trials: An animal-based study has shown that the new vaccine has a higher neutralizing capacity against a range of variants — including the super-contagious delta — compared with CureVac’s initial vaccine, which had in June showed efficacy of just 47%. GSK and CureVac plan to begin a phase 1 trials of the new vaccine in 4Q2021.

OTHER GLOBAL COVID NEWS you need to know:

  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott has tested positive for covid. He’s vaccinated and asymptomatic, but has been a leader of Republican opposition to mask mandates and the like. (CNN)
  • Grappling with delta: Chicago is back to requiring masks indoors, while Los Angeles will require them at large outdoor gatherings. And as we noted yesterday, New Zealand is in a three-day lockdown after the discovery of just one new case, its first since February.


Export all the electricity…

Egypt is looking to increase the capacity of its existing electricity link to Jordan 2 GW from the current 450 MW, Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) Chairman Sabah Mashali tells Masrawy. An ETTC delegation during a visit on Monday to Jordan discussed with officials the prospect of extending the capacity of our existing link with the Jordanian capital, Mashali said, adding that an international consultant has been contracted to conduct the necessary technical studies for the extension. The new capacity will then feed into Syria and Iraq, underpinning the export of power to Syria and the growth of electricity sales to Iraq. The government had previously announced plans to extend the capacity of the link to 1 BW during an earlier phase of the project.

Background: The Egypt-Jordan electricity link is part of a larger project to link Egypt’s grid to Libya, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. Together, the links were referred to at some point by the Jordanian government as the “Eight Countries Electric Interconnection Project.” The project has been in the works for years, with major parts of it already completed. It is partly funded by the Arab Fund, and its completion is one of the keys to our bid to become a regional energy hub.

Egypt has swung from rolling blackouts to having a surplus of electricity generation capacity that, combined with our natural gas bonanza, has us positioning ourselves as a regional energy hub.



The thanaweya Amma exams were the talk of the town on the nation’s airwaves last night after Education Minister Tarek Shawky announced yesterday exam results at a press conference, during which Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar also disclosed the minimum GPA admission requirements for incoming Thanaweya Amma freshmen students, according to a cabinet statement.

Almost 74% of high schoolers have passed their Thanaweya Amma exams this year, down from 82% the year before, Shawky said, noting that students can get their results online through the ministry’s website. Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 24:27), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 3:12) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 4:37) were among those who took note of the press conference.

Also getting headline treatment last night: Tokyo 2020 Olympic medalists, who were honored by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi at a ceremony held yesterday at the Ittihadiya Palace and attended by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi, according to an Ittihadiya statement. El Sisi also honored the coaching staff of this year’s Olympics champions, who brought home one gold, one silver and four bronze medals. Among those who had coverage of the ceremony: Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 14:35) and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 3:32).

The Dabaa nuclear plant was also in the news: As much as 20% of the Dabaa nuclear plant will have been locally constructed and manufactured when the 4.8 GW facility is up and running, Electricity Ministry spokesman Ayman Hamza said in a phone-in to Sada El Balad’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 30:00). Work on construction permits for the plant — poised to be completed in 2030 rather than in FY2028-2029 thanks to covid-19 disruption — is progressing as planned, Hamza said, without specifying an estimated timeframe for when permits would be issued.


What type of morning is it you ask? In a word, quiet. The sole piece of headline-worthy news is a mention of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in this BBC feature on water-related conflicts across the world.


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

  • Banque Misr will issue prepaid Meeza cards for Tanmeyah Micro Enterprise Services, under an agreement signed yesterday. Some 250 ATMs will also be installed inside Tanmeyah branches across the country.
  • Orange Egypt will provide automation and digital transformation services to government entities and projects under a cooperation protocol signed (pdf) with the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI).
  • A consortium of ElSewedy Electric and Arab Contractors completed (pdf) the installation of the first of nine turbine units as well as the placement of the roller compacted concrete for the main body of Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere Hydropower Plant and Dam, which they are building under a USD 2.9 bn contract.


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US private capital groups jump on higher investments in unlisted assets: The top five listed US private capital firms saw their value rise threefold since the market sell-off last year off the back of higher management fees, the Financial Times reports. The combined market value of Blackstone, KKR, Carlyle, Apollo and Ares jumped from a low of USD 80 bn in March 2020 to about USD 252 bn this year. Investors are looking at investments in private capital as “alternatives to generate their target returns” as the prospect for more gains is restricted in almost all top bond and equity markets due to record or near-record valuations, one analyst said.

Oman Oil Company is looking to list 10-15% of its shares in an initial public offering in its local capital market by 2022, in an offering that could be worth between USD 2-3 bn, unnamed banking sources told CNBC Arabia. The company could increase the size of the stake on offer if it receives high demand from investors, the sources added. The proceeds will be put towards the company’s USD 8 bn three-year investment plan. The shares will be offered through private placement.

ETF investors are turning defensive amid a “bullish but worried” sentiment on Wall Street: Exchange traded funds (ETFs) linked to US “defensive” sectors that tend to pay off in tougher environments — such as healthcare, consumer staples and utilities — attracted net inflows of c. USD 5 bn last month after recording outflows that totaled USD 3.6 bn in 1H2021 as Wall Street turned wary of record peaks in US stocks, the Financial Times reports, citing figures from the State Street Global Advisors. ETFs linked to more economically sensitive US sectors like financials, energy and real estate, meanwhile, all registered combined outflows of USD 7.2 bn in July.




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The EGX30 fell 1% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.9 bn (29% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is up 0.9% YTD.

In the green: Egyptian for Tourism Resorts (+2.7%), Ibnsina Pharma (+1.8%), and Rameda (+1.7%).

In the red: Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (-2.7%), CIB (-2.6%), and Ezz Steel (-2.1%).

It’s green as far as the eye can see this morning. Asian shares are largely in the green this morning, and futures suggest stocks in London, Frankfurt and Wall Street will follow suit later today. Shars in Paris and Toronto look set to dip at the opening bell.


Egypt and the US carried out joint naval exercises in the Red Sea — less than a week after a US warship for the first time visited Egypt’s Red Sea Berenice naval base, the armed forces said in a statement yesterday.


26-28 August (Thursday-Saturday): Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.

September: Delegation of Russian companies to visit Russian Industrial Zone.

1-3 September (Wednesday-Friday): Digi Sign Africa, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo, Egypt.

2 September (Thursday): The new EGX mechanism for calculating closing share prices will come into effect.

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

5-7 September (Sunday-Tuesday): The Arab Security Conference, The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo, Egypt.

7-8 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Euromoney Conferences will host the GlobalCapital Sustainable and Responsible Capital Markets Forum 2021, featuring Vice Minister of Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk.

7-9 September (Tuesday-Thursday): Egy Health Expo, Al Manara International Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

9 September (Thursday): DevOpsDays Cairo 2021 is being organized by ITIDA and the Software Engineering Competence Center in cooperation with DXC Technology, IBM Egypt and Orange Labs.

12 September (Sunday): International schools begin 2021-2022 academic year

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.

21-22 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

22-25 September (Wednesday-Saturday): Cityscape Egypt, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

October: New legislative session begins.

October: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis could visit Egypt in mid this month to discuss ways to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries.

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.

9 October (Saturday): Public schools begin 2021-2022 academic year

11-17 October (Monday-Sunday): IMF + World Bank Annual Meetings.

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.

31 October – 12 November (Sunday-Friday): The 26th UN Climate Change Conference, Glasgow, UK.

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

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.

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

2-3 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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

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

7-8 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): North Africa Trade Finance Summit.

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.

14-19 December (Tuesday-Sunday): The Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater.

14-15 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Federal Reserve meets to review interest rates.

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.

16 June 2022 (Thursday): End of 2021-2022 academic year for public schools

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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