Wednesday, 1 September 2021

EnterpriseAM — Amethis hits first close on fund with big Egypt earmark + Amazon opens mega-facility outside Cairo

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to September — a month full of new beginnings and new potential as the kiddies trudge back to school, businesses start planning for 2022, and we all look forward to fall and winter weather that is the envy of countries around the world.

THE BIG STORY here at home? Lots of investment and M&A news. Private equity outfit Amethis is looking at Egyptian SMEs after reaching a USD 101 mn first close on a fund — and will open an office in Egypt given how attractive the local market is. Meanwhile, Amazon has inaugurated a warehouse in 10 Ramadan. Meanwhile, a state-owned fund has acquired a 49% stake in the film studio behind the first made-in-Egypt flick to hit Netflix. We have chapter and verse on all three stories and more in this morning’s news well.

From the Dept. of Good News #1: Youssef Boutros Ghali’s assets have been unfrozen after the Illicit Gains Authority concluded there was no basis for a criminal case against the Mubarak-era finance minister, Al Masry Al Youm reported. Boutros Ghali was a model civil servant whose smart, technocratic policymaking saw Egypt take long strides toward widening the tax base at the same time as smart policy reforms he enacted made it easier and more attractive to simply pay the taxman his due.

From the Dept. of Good News #2:- Russian flag carrier Aeroflot has opened ticket sales for direct flights from Moscow to Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh, with the first flight set to take off on 1 October, according to a statement picked up by Russian state news agency Tass. Aeroflot will operate one daily flight from Moscow to each of the two resort towns.

S7 Airlines is also set to run two weekly flights between Moscow and Sharm starting 9 October and will run one other direct flight each week to Hurghada starting 5 October, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Russian tourists returned to Red Sea resorts last month after a six-year interregnum.

A brand new month awaits: Here are the key news triggers for the first two weeks of September:

  • PMI: August’s PMI figures for Egypt, KSA and the UAE will land on Sunday, 5 September.
  • Foreign reserves: The central bank will release foreign reserves figures for August sometime next week.
  • Inflation: Inflation data for August will drop next week.
  • Interest rates: The Central Bank of Egypt will meet to review interest rates on Thursday, 16 September.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- US President Joe Biden is mounting a blunt defense of his decision to declare the war in Afghanistan over. The news comes as the European Union said it is planning an EUR 600 mn humanitarian aid package for the country’s neighbors to help them cope with a potential wave of refugees fleeing Taliban rule, the Financial Times. Meanwhile, the WSJ thinks that “in leaving Afghanistan, the US has reshuffled global power relations” — to the delight of Beijing and Moscow. The US pullout also leads the front pages of the Washington Post, Bloomberg and Reuters.

A close second: The fraud trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes got underway yesterday when jury selection began as scheduled. The story is getting plenty of ink from the FT and the Journal.

Closer to home: The UAE and Turkey are still mending fences, with the latest (very high profile) sign being Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan taking a call from the guy in Ankara, Reuters and Bloomberg report.

What do you do when you’re a finance editor and the rest of the world is paying attention to life and death in Afghanistan? Waffle. What goes up must come down, we get it. But the waffle in this story from CNBC (headline: There are mounting risks that make September a potentially hazardous time for stocks) is ridiculous. Why will the market correct? Covid, sure. But also: “Stocks are down more often than they are up in September, and after seven months of gains, it’s possible the market could see a pullback.” Trenchant analysis at its best.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT-

MORNING MUST READ- Google is postponing its workers’ return from the office — for the third time — until 2022: The tech giant has once again pushed back the date when its employees are required to report to the office until next January amid a resurgence of covid-19 cases around the world, according to a Google blog post yesterday. Google had previously announced return-to-office dates as 1 September and 18 October of this year — and had mandated vaccines for all staff returning to the office. Other big tech firms including Facebook and Apple have also told employees they will not be required to work in person until at least January.

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*** It’s Hardhat day — your weekly briefing of all things infrastructure in Egypt: Enterprise’s industry vertical focuses each Wednesday on infrastructure, covering everything from energy, water, transportation, and urban development as well as social infrastructure such as health and education.

In today’s issue: Prefab and modular construction are slowly making their way onto Egyptian building sites as a cost-effective and time-saving alternative to traditional construction. The two methods are being practiced by companies such as Qubix, Hilti, and Arabian Construction House. We sat down with them to learn more about the implications prefab and modular construction could have in Egypt, and what the demand looks like now.

enterprise

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INVESTMENT WATCH

Amethis hits first close on fund with big Egypt earmark + Amazon inaugurates 10 Ramadan warehouse

Amethis’ new private equity fund has a big Egypt earmark, will see the firm open an office here: Africa-focused, Paris-headquartered private equity outfit Amethis could invest more than EUR 30 mn in Egyptian SMEs after it hit a first close of its second MENA fund, Enterprise understands. The firm this week announced that it had reached an EUR 85 mn (USD 101) first close on its Amethis MENA Fund II (AMFII), 35-40% of which could be allocated to SMEs in Egypt, Amethis Investment Directors Toufic Khoueiry and Adnane Zerhouni told us.

Who’s in? The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have both committed EUR 20 mn, while the International Finance Corporation (IFC) invested EUR 12.5 mn. Proparco is committed through the Agence Française de Développement’s Fisea+ facility.

The fund will target high-growth SMEs in the healthcare, tech, manufacturing and services sectors, allocating EUR 5-15 mn for each investment. Rather than targeting startups, it is looking for more mature, profitable companies that are ready to take their growth to the next level, Zerhouni said. It is also looking at companies that are open to selling a majority stake of their business down the road, he added.

The story so far: Until now, the fund has only invested in a single company, announcing in March an undisclosed investment in Magriser, a Moroccan firm specialized in micro-irrigation systems. It is currently in advanced talks with several other companies, one of which is Egyptian, Khoueiry said, declining to disclose further information.

This would be the firm’s first investment in Egypt: While Amethis’ first MENA-focused fund Amethis Maghreb Fund I focused on companies in Morocco and Tunisia, AMFII is targeting new markets in Egypt and Jordan.

Amethis sees Egypt as an increasingly strategic market and is looking to open a local office thanks to its strong pipeline of opportunities, Khoueiry said, emphasizing the size of its market, its position in the region, its strong industrial base as well as Egypt being a prime recipient of private equity investment in North Africa. “The market is strategic enough that it warrants closer presence … we are actively looking to grow our presence there [Egypt].”

IN OTHER INVESTMENT NEWS-

Amazon opens logistics facility, the first-of-its-kind in Africa, outside Cairo: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly was on hand yesterday for the opening of the facility in Tenth of Ramadan City, according to a Cabinet statement. The 28k-sqm facility — the first of its kind in Africa — comes as part of Amazon’s long-term plans to expand its footprint in Egypt and increase investment in the country’s infrastructure, advanced technology and e-commerce sectors, while catering to Egypt’s internet-based SMEs, VP of Amazon Middle East and North Africa Ronaldo Mouchawar said.

The e-commerce giant is investing more than EGP 1 bn in the Egyptian market, and runs more than 15 goods delivery stations nationwide, contributing to the creation of at least 3k jobs, according to Mouchawar. Amazon had last year hinted at exploring whether Egypt could be a hub for the manufacturing of its own-brand products and for exports to the wider region, saying it would also work on attracting more local manufacturers to Amazon’s marketplace.

And Amazon.eg is launching later this year, in a move that ultimately will replace Souq as Amazon’s Egypt selling platform. The e-commerce giant had operated in Egypt through Souq since it acquired the Dubai-based online retailer in 2017. Vendors on Souq can now register on the Amazon Seller Central to begin selling on Amazon.eg as soon as the site goes live.

ALSO- The Housing and Development Bank (HDB) will contribute some EGP 12.5 mn for the construction of Elsewedy Technical Academy’s (STA) third branch in Sadat City Industrial Zone under a cooperation protocol signed between the two sides yesterday, according to a statement picked up by Hapi Journal. There are already two STA technical schools up and running in Egypt — both located in Tenth of Ramadan City — offering three-year preparatory school graduate certificates in technical education.

M&A WATCH

Ergo buys 49% stake in studio behind Souad, Paranormal

State-owned media investment firm Ergo Media Ventures will acquire a 49% stake in TV and film production company Film Clinic, it said in an emailed statement (pdf) yesterday. The firm will invest a total of USD 5 mn in Film Clinic, a source with knowledge of the transaction told Enterprise, explaining that it will pay USD 1.8 mn for the equity stake. The balance of the USD 5 mn transaction value is finance for new projects.

Who owns what? The transaction is Ergo’s first since it was established in 2018 by Ayady Investment and Development, an investment company owned by state and quasi-state institutions including the National Investment Bank (NIB) and the Arab Investment Bank. The NIB’s investment arm, NI Capital, manages Ergo.

Film Clinic is a production company established in 2005 by veteran Egyptian screenwriter and producer Mohamed Hefzy. It has been behind some of the most high-profile cinematic hits to come out of Egypt in recent years, including international critical successes Souad, 200 Meters, and Yomeddine. On the small screen, the company was the producer of Netflix’s first Egyptian production, Paranormal, a well-received adaptation of Ahmed Khalid Tawfik’s beloved supernatural thriller novels.

Advisers: PwC was financial advisor to Ergo, while Rizkana & Partners and Al Jallaf were legal counsel. Jurisera was legal counsel to Film Clinic.

REAL ESTATE

SODIC prepares to restart sales, collections on 500-acre West Cairo plot

SODIC is looking forward to the “imminent” resumption of sales and collections on a 500-acre plot in West Cairo’s New Zayed, a senior company official tells us. The upmarket real estate developer paused both collection and new sales earlier this year on the plot (pdf) after the Housing Ministry proposed moving it to a new location. SODIC is developing the land in partnership with the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA).

Why the change? It is necessary because of changes to “New Zayed area plans at large,” SODIC said in a disclosure (pdf).

The new plot, which is pending approval from NUCA’s board of directors, is a bit smaller at 440 acres — and probably better for SODIC. “The adjusted plot partially overlaps with the original plot and spans 440 acres, but with a higher efficiency that should allow for an increase in sellable BUA without compromising the project’s features. The new land plot also enjoys better connectivity with the infrastructure being developed in the area” — and is closer to SODIC West, the company official said.

“Existing clients will be relocated in a way that meets the criteria on which they bought,” the official said, adding, “The new plot, though slightly smaller, has better efficiencies due to its shape and existing infrastructure, thus safeguarding the offering while not compromising returns. We are excited about the change and look forward to resuming sales and collections imminently.”

AUTOMOTIVE

Still counting cars

Passenger car sales grew 43% y-o-y in July, with some 17.8k vehicles sold during the month, up from c. 12.5k in July 2020, according to figures from industry association Automotive Information Council (AMIC). On a monthly basis, sales decreased from 19.5k passenger vehicles sold in June 2021 — an almost 9% m-o-m drop in the number of cars sold.

THE CAVEAT- The annual growth figures aren’t quite as impressive as they seem due to a low base effect. This time last year, auto sales had hit the skids as the government’s lockdown measures caused a sharp drop in consumer demand. AMIC figures reflect data contributed by member distributors, who include most (but not all) industry participants.

Total auto sales — including busses and trucks — also increased c. 29% y-o-y to 23.5k vehicles in July. The lower sales volume month on month — 26.2k units were sold in June — reflects a full week of holidays in July thanks to Eid Al Adha.

Bus and truck sales saw mixed results: Truck sales rose 10.4% y-o-y to over 3.7k in July, from 3.4k in the same month last year — down from 5k trucks sold in June as corporations took a full week off in July. Bus sales were down both y-o-y (-23%) and m-o-m (-12%) with nearly 1.9k units sold.

Sales fell as much as 26% at the height of the covid-19 lockdown in April of last year as dealerships were shuttered and consumers deferred purchases. Despite that, AMIC figures for FY2020 showed that, overall, sales rose last year — even as the pandemic forced a partial lockdown on the economy.

MOVES

Amer group appoints yet another new CEO

Private equity firm SPE Capital has promoted Ahmed El Oraby (LinkedIn) to partner, the firm announced on its website. El Oraby initially joined the firm in 2020 as a principal from Ezdehar Management and prior to that he was an executive director at JPMorgan.

The revolving door at Amer keeps spinning: Saad Rabie has been appointed as Amer Group’s CEO and managing director, according to an EGX filing (pdf). Rabie will succeed Riad Refaat, who has been in this position for only four months. Refaat’s predecessor Khaled Hassan wasn’t at the firm long either, lasting only a few weeks in his position.

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ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The talking heads were focused yesterday on a cooperation protocol between the Planning and Oil Ministries for financing the implementation of natgas networks in rural areas across Egypt: The first of three phases of the project will cost state coffers some EGP 17 bn, coming as part of the government’s Decent Life initiative, Planning Minister Hala El Said told reporters on Sada El Balad TV (watch, runtime: 4:08) last night. Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:12) also had coverage.

MBC Masr’s Sherif Amer interviewed Emaar CEO Mohamed Alabbar, who showcased his company’s latest addition to its Sahel summer destination — Marassi Marina and Yacht Club. This is the first international marina on the North Coast, Alabbar said, and was developed at a cost of EGP 24 bn. The Emaar boss said the facility has berths for at least 260 yachts (watch, runtime: 5:45). You can watch the full interview here (watch, runtime: 22:41).

Also on the airwaves last night: Security forces rescued an abducted eight-year-old child within hours of his having been kidnapped in Gharbia and returned him to his family safely (watch, runtime: 1:57). CCTV footage captured the three kidnappers, who wanted to coerce the family into paying a ransom for his return before their arrest yesterday. Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 5:52), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 33:45), Yahduth Fi Masr (watch, runtime 7:48) and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 7:44) all took note of the incident.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Egypt’s vaccine ambitions are in the foreign press: Egypt’s ambitious plans to produce as many as 1 bn vaccine doses annually at its new Vacsera facility, as well as a partnership with a European vaccine-maker is getting ink in Reuters. Also making news: This week’s release of three public figures who had spent over a year in pre-trial detention is still getting attention from the Washington Post.

Also making headlines:

  • Don’t buy Egyptian antiquities, even the fake ones, warned art crime professor Erin Thompson in the NY Daily News, warning that sales of fake artefacts only feed the black market in looted heritage.
  • Egyptian-born, Milan-based model and influencer Aya Mohamed, AKA @milanpyramid, who has worked with Gucci and Prada was profiled by Harper’s Bazaar Arabia for her new project designing luxury headscarves.
  • Priests in Ancient Egypt were banned from consuming onions for fear they would break their vows of celibacy, the Guardian reports.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Speed Medical responds: Speed Medical issued a statement (pdf) threatening to take legal action for possible defamation against any media outlet that covers allegations of market manipulation made by an unnamed shareholder. The dust up comes after Speed Medical said in late August, in an unusually frank regulatory filing, that it was backing away from its announced 100% acquisition of Prime Speed. Prime Speed shares came under selling pressure after Speed Medical called off the transaction.

A call for investors: A consortium including CIB and Colliers International will begin promoting Tatweer Misr’s education project in Bloomfields to investors this month, Colliers International’s Country Director, Karim Helal told us. Investments will be made through the purchase of shares in a yet-to-be-named Tatweer Misreducational platform. The company is aiming to raise somewhere between EGP 2-3 bn though both debt and equity for the project’s first phase.

Al Ahly Sabbour Development is studying the IPO of some of its shares on the EGX, Chairman Ahmed Sabbour said during a press conference yesterday, Masrway reports. The size and timing of the offering is yet to be determined, according to Sabbour.

Luxor’s newly restored Wekalet Al Gedawy caravanserai opened its doors earlier this week, as part of USAID’s USD 8.6 mn revitalization project in Esna, Luxor.

Egyptian Chemical Industries (Kima) will restructure its outstanding c. EGP 6.6 bn syndicated facility with several Egyptian banks under a MoU signed yesterday, the Daily News Egypt reports. State-owned Banque Misr and National Bank of Egypt, alongside Arab African International Bank, were arrangers, underwriters and bookrunners for the transaction, while Banque du Caire, Blom Bank Egypt and the Egyptian Arab Land Bank were co-underwriters, and Beltone Investment Banking acted as the sole financial advisor. The facility will be used to finance Kima’s Ammonia and Urea Industrial Complex in Aswan.

COVID WATCH

We’ve vaccinated 350k travellers in the past 2 weeks

Some 350k Egyptians traveling abroad have been vaccinated against covid in the past two weeks, Health Minister Hala Zayed said during a meeting with the Kuwaiti ambassador to Cairo yesterday. The vaccination drive offered expedited Johnson & Johnson-manufactured jabs to those embarking on cross-border travel and — exceptionally — to Egyptian travelers aged below 18 who intend on leaving the country for educational and health purposes.

The Health Ministry reported 279 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 263 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 288,441 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 9 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 16,736.

PLANET FINANCE

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Euro inflation has hit a 10-year high: Rising energy, food, and industrial prices drove consumer price inflation in the eurozone up 3% this month, beating predictions of 2.7% and significantly above the European Central Bank’s (ECB) 2% target, according to a flash estimate (pdf) from European stats body Eurostat. Analysts don’t expect inflation to peak until November, which is all somewhat inconvenient for the ECB, which has attempted to downplay this year’s inflationary pressures as a passing phase, even as price rises have routinely overshot its predictions.

The ECB still wants to stay loose: Policymakers aren’t likely to tighten policy to curb the price rises anytime soon. They say current inflation is based on the “one-off” post-pandemic recovery and won’t be sustained, pointing to weak underlying readings, including still-muted wage growth. In fact, the central bank is expecting years of sluggish price rises after the initial stimulus kick fades. As its chief economist told Reuters last week, the bank is therefore unlikely to waver from its bond-buying regime when it meets at the end of the week.

Saudi renewable energy giant Acwa Power’s IPO on Riyadh’s stock exchange could go to market very soon, with an eye to raising more than USD 1 bn in proceeds in a transaction that could value Acwa at at least USD 10 bn, unnamed sources in the know tell Bloomberg. While a specific timeframe for when the Saudi sovereign fund-backed energy producer plans to close its IPO remains unknown, an announcement could be made as early as this week, though no final decision has been made and Acwa could still decide against the offering, the sources said. Acwa was earlier expected to pull the trigger on its planned IPO in 1H2021, but then shelved its plans due to the covid disruption.

Acwa is a significant player in Egypt’s wind energy sector and is looking for ways to deploy solar here to power desalination projects.

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11143.8

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Buy 15.65

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Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

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ADX

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FTSE 100

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USD 72.99

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USD 1,817.90

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USD 46,834.39

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THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 fell 0.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.6 bn (7.8% above the 90-day average). Regional investors were net sellers. The index is up 2.8% YTD.

In the green: Fawry (+5.4%), Mopco (+1.9%) and Credit Agricole (+1.8%).

In the red: Speed Medical (-8.2%), Qalaa Holding (-2.5%) and Egyptian Resorts Company (-2.4%).

Major Asian benchmarks in Hong Kong, mainland China and Korea are all in the green this morning and futures suggest much of Western Europe and North America will follow suit at the opening bell later today.

DIPLOMACY

El Sisi talks military cooperation, manufacturing and technology transfer with South Korea’s defense minister: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi yesterday held military cooperation and investment talks with South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook on the second day of the latter’s visit to Cairo — the first of its kind to Egypt by a Korean defense minister, according to an Ittihadiya statement. Beyond defense cooperation, the two discussed opportunities to work together in manufacturing, tech and infrastructure. El Sisi and Suh also discussed potential investment and partnerships in Egypt’s major development projects. Suh later met with Egyptian Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki. Cairo was Suh’s first leg of a six-day Middle East tour that will take him to Oman next.

Cairo may hold the next round of ministerial-level meetings of Libya’s neighbors, a suggestion agreed upon unanimously by foreign ministers who concluded yesterday a two-day meeting in Algeria, the Algerian foreign ministry said in a statement. The gathering is part of a process that aims to reach a political resolution to the conflict between Tripoli’s unity government and eastern Libyan leader Khalifa Haftar. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called for “comprehensive and credible” national elections in Libya to put an end to the country’s transitional period and foreign ministers reiterated their call for the exit of all foreign forces from Libya. Shoukry held back-to-back meetings with his Libyan and Sudanese counterparts on the sidelines of the gathering.

The Egyptian-Qatari committee agreed to further strengthen bilateral ties in the medium term in meetings held yesterday in Cairo, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. The committee is tasked with follow-up on the implementation of the Al Ula accord. The meeting comes after President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met in Baghdad on Saturday for the first time since the reconciliatory pact this year ended an almost four-year Qatari diplomatic rift with Egypt and its Gulf neighbors.

hardhat

Could prefabricated and modular construction be in Egypt’s future? The construction sector is a major contributor to Egypt’s economy, with the sector expected to grow at an average of 8.3% annually to 2029 and account for 30% of the MENA construction market. With the sector expanding in size and importance, alternative and more efficient methods of construction are slowly being introduced to Egypt’s building sites. These include prefabricated (or prefab) and modular construction which have both been growing in popularity worldwide as a time-saving and cost-efficient alternative to traditional construction.

What are they exactly? Prefabricated buildings are those constructed with materials or entire structures built and prepared offsite in factories and then installed onsite as a finished product. This can range from a prefabricated component (such as a metal structure) or a panel (such as a wall) or even an entire room. The parts are then quickly assembled through intuitive and easy methods on site — think Ikea furniture setups, but on a much larger scale. Modular construction is similar but involves set standard building blocks that go together like Legos to create a final structure.

Some construction companies in Egypt are specializing in these techniques: Arabian Construction House (ACH) offers prefabricated fiber wall and roof panels that can be used as “blocks” to quickly put together buildings, Vice Chairman Ahmed Turk explained. Also wanting a piece of the action, European firm Hilti recently launched modular support structures in their local subsidiary Hilti Egypt, Channel Manager Omar Essam tells us. The metal structures form the foundation of entire buildings and come prefabricated to be connected through a simple twist and lock technique.

And of course there’s Qubix, which upcycles storage containers into usable spaces such as restaurants, offices, and homes that otherwise would be left to rust after their shipping life is over. At their 2.5k meter factory, the containers are fully brought to life including everything from decor to plumbing. Projects they’ve undertaken include The Drive by The Waterway — which only took three months to complete, co-founder Youssef Farag tells Enterprise.

Time-saving and cost-efficient… What more could you want? Prefab allows you to build faster using fewer resources, increasing the ROI for firms, Farag explains. A 2019 McKinsey study (pdf) found that these techniques can cut construction speed by as much as 50% while lowering costs by 20%. Factory processes are quicker as set supply chains ensure speed and quality and constant testing. Meanwhile, sites can be prepared in parallel eliminating bottlenecks where construction would have to wait until the land is ready.

There are also potential environmental benefits: ACH claims its panels do not contain metals or concrete which are both highly polluting industries and the raw materials are all locally sourced, Turk tells us. ACH and Hilti also reduce waste during the construction process as everything comes pre-cut and needs little cement to be set up.

The global market for prefab buildings is expected to reach USD 153.7 bn by 2026 from USD 106.1 bn in 2020, according to a market study by Global Industry Analysts.

While we don’t have market data for Egypt, demand for prefab and modular construction is evident, company reps tell us. Qubix expects y-o-y growth to hit 110% in 2021, Farag told us. The company is planning to roll out a new (and exciting) building technique in the coming months. Meanwhile, Hilti’s prefab product launch received higher than expected demand, and the local office is planning on rolling out more prefab building systems in the coming period, Essam said.

Egypt’s new cities provide ample potential for them: Demand for construction will boom in Egypt in the coming 10-15 years and Qubix aims to ride the wave, Farag says. The introduction of new cities such as New Alamein or the new administrative capital as well as increasing projects in transport and energy has helped the sector gain traction as an efficient way to fast track implementation, Essam says.

Potential applications extend beyond housing and real estate: Prefab has also shined in water projects conducted by the government such as water treatment and well building. ACH’s fiber panels are considered resistant to water as the absence of metal avoids rusting which would otherwise result in yearly maintenance costs, Turk explains, adding that their main customers are oil companies who have facilities on the water.

But our adoption is still slower than our peers: In the case of ACH demand growth has been slower as most construction companies in Egypt still can’t pinpoint the benefits of prefab, especially since building costs are cheap in the country. Since fiber panels are used in prefab buildings as an alternative to metals, demand for prefab is greatly tied to metals prices, Turk explains. Most of ACH’s prefab demand comes from their export markets as other countries outpace Egypt in adopting the model. Farag also echoes that we have a long way to go and should look up to countries such as Singapore amidst our drive to more efficient construction.


Your top infrastructure stories for the week:

  • Work on Riz to start by 2022: The Suez Canal Economic Zone will begin infrastructure work on the Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ) by the beginning of next year.
  • Oil Ministry sets up a new methanol plant: A new state-owned petrochemicals company Misr Methanol and Petrochemicals will be established, with preliminary investments of USD 1.6 bn.
  • Orascom Construction triples y-o-y net income: The company reported a USD 26.5 mn profit for the April-June period this year, up from USD 9.5 mn last year.
  • Altus to take a stake in Chilean copper mine: Naguib Sawiris-backed mining firm Altus Strategies completed the first close of an agreement that will see itl take an 0.42% stake in the net smelter return royalty of Chile’s Caserones Copper Mine.
  • Egypt imports 1.6 bcm of natgas from Israel: Egypt has imported 1.6 bcm of natural gas from Israel’s Leviathan gas field during the first six months of the year, up from 0.4 bcm in the same period of 2020.

CALENDAR

24 August-5 September (Tuesday-Sunday): Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

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

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

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

4 September (Saturday): The first Egypt-Cyprus Intergovernmental Summit is taking place in Cairo.

5 September (Sunday): The updated date for EGX listed companies to institute the new mechanism for calculating closing share prices. The deadline was previously 2 September.

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.

8-9 September (Wednesday-Thursday): Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (ICF), Cairo

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.

11-12 September (Saturday-Sunday): International Conferences on Economics and Social Sciences, Cairo

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.

13-21 September (Monday-Tuesday): 76th session of the general assembly, New York

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.

18 September (Saturday): Expiration of United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh/ISIL

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 — must be held by the first Thursday of October.

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.

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.

16-17 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Africa fintech summit, Cairo.

26 November-5 December (Friday-Sunday): The 43rd Cairo International Film Festival.

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.

22-24 April 2022: World Bank-IMF spring meeting, Washington D.C.

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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