Tuesday, 5 October 2021

EnterpriseAM — Is private equity staging a comeback in Egypt and Africa?

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to the next-to-last business day of the week. We hope you’re looking forward to a productive workday — and to a well-deserved long weekend.

Have you recovered from your forced social media detox last night? WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram are all back online after crashing at around 6pm CLT in an outage that lasted until nearly 1am. The glitch that hit Facebook’s consumer apps also took down its internal comms systems. Word over on Twitter (where the memes exploded last night) was that someone inside the company somehow messed up DNS records. The outage comes as Facebook continues to face questions after the Wall Street Journal’s multipart takedown of the company’s business practices in The Facebook Files.

We’re very tempted to be ostriches this morning and just bury our heads in a (metaphorical) hole for the rest of the day, claiming that our WhatsApp is still mysteriously down.

THE BIG STORIES THIS MORNING has to be the spate of private equity investment news coming out of DPI and EFG Hermes. Throw in recent fundraising successes by firms including Ezdehar and Lorax and it’s enough to make you wonder whether private equity is making a comeback as an asset class in Egypt and Africa after years in the wilderness following the implosion of Abraaj.

You’ll also want to check out Also on our Radar this morning for fast rundowns on the CBE’s September reserves report, the latest on taxing social media creators and influencers, and our new ambassador to Ethiopia, among other stories.

HAPPENING TODAY-

The Senate begins its new legislative session following the end of its summer recess. This comes four days after the House kicked off a new legislative session over the weekend with a raft of business-relevant legislation to chew over in the coming months. Officials have yet to provide a look a the Senate’s legislative agenda.

“Daddy, what’s the Senate?” To paraphrase a 1980s advert: It’s “a question a child might ask, but not a childish question.” Fully 200 members were elected in 2020 (turnout was just over 14%) and 100 more appointed by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Senate votes are required on some matters of foreign affairs (treaties, alliances and sovereignty) as well as any proposed amendments to the constitution. It may also offer opinions on matters “referred to it by the president” or, in some cases, the House. Here’s who was in charge of Senate committees as of March 2021.

A preparatory conference for the Intra-African Trade Fair 2021 — which is scheduled to kick off in South Africa in mid-November — is being hosted today by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) at the Westin Cairo Golf Resort & Spa. Here’s the day’s agenda (pdf).

HAPPENING THIS WEEK- The House Planning and Budgeting Committee will hold a series of 10 meetings to finalize the government’s draft unified budget act, according to Al Mal. The meetings start this week and run into next. The bill proposes merging legislation governing the state’s annual budget and government accountability into a new act that erases overlap between different pieces of legislation. If passed, the bill would require the government to present a medium-term budgetary and fiscal strategy to the House of Representatives every year. We have more on the proposed law, along with everything else likely to be on legislators’ agendas during the new parliamentary session, here.

SMART POLICY- Commuters can now purchase Metro passes online through this website, which operator RATP launched yesterday, according to a press release (pdf).

THE BIG STORY ABROAD on this fine morning: The price of oil in the US hit a seven-year high yesterday after OPEC and its allies opted against raising output by more than they had originally agreed in June. The cartel made the decision at a meeting yesterday, agreeing that it will continue to lift its combined output by 400k barrels per day each month until supply is restored to its pre-pandemic levels.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, hit a three-year high, advancing to USD 81.26, a gain of 2.5%. The story is everywhere in the global business press, from the Financial Times and Reuters to Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Could prices go even higher? That seems to be the contention of Saudi Aramco (not that it has a dog in that fight…) which said yesterday that the world’s brewing “natural-gas crisis was already boosting oil demand.”

** IN CASE YOU MISSED IT– Stories from yesterday’s edition of EnterprisePM:

  • How organizations can implement an anti-burnout strategy: Jennifer Moss’ new book, The Burnout Epidemic, argues that workplaces should take the lead in developing strategies that reduce burnout among their workforce on a case-by-case basis.
  • The i-Sheep will have to stand by a little longer: Delivery times for the new iPhone 13 have been delayed due to constrained supplies of camera components.
  • Fashion that can be worn digitally? Companies are now offering digital versions of everything from workout clothes to gravity-defying avant garde fashion, often in the form of NFTs.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Cairo International Fair continues today at the Cairo International Conference Center, running through 8 October.

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


enterprise

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

In today’s issue: With EGX-listed companies and some NBFS firms facing new ESG reporting requirements next year, we break down what this means for businesses.

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INVESTMENT WATCH

Egypt in the spotlight as DPI hits final close on Africa’s largest-ever PE fund

Africa-focused private equity firm Development Partners International (DPI) is on track for a USD 900 mn final close to its third fund. Its African Development Partners III (ADP III) has an additional USD 250 mn worth of dedicated co-investment capital, the firm said in a statement, giving it a total of USD 1.15 bn for investment on the continent. That would, by our math, make it the largest PE fund ever raised for deployment in Africa. DPI’s third fund has already invested in MNT-Halan’s record-breaking USD 120 mn funding round.

DPI’s existing Egypt investments and track record were among the keys to the successful fundraising, which saw DPI exceed its original target by USD 100 mn and add more than 25 new limited partners to its investor base, a senior DPI exec told us. The firm’s LPs include pension and sovereign wealth funds, development finance institutions, ins. companies, asset managers and impact investors, DPI said.

Egypt is critical for DPI. “Egypt was a key investment destination” for the firm’s second fund, Principal Ziad Abaza told us. Egypt had the largest country allocation in the firm’s ADP II as DPI deployed more than USD 180 mn here in three investments that Abaza said “have performed very well for us.” They include consumer electronics retailer B.tech, pipes and fittings manufacturer EGIC (a prominent exporter) and fintech platform MNT-Halan. “Egypt has performed well over the last five years and we expect to see this trend continue,” he said.

“Egypt will remain a key country as we deploy capital from our third fund,” Abaza added, saying two out of the four investments ADP III has already made have been here. The firm’s pharma platform, established in partnership with CDC and EBRD, has acquired Adwia and DPI invested a second time in MNT-Halan. “That takes our total investments in Egypt now to more than USD 350 mn along with our co-investors,” Abaza said.

What does DPI like in Egypt going forward? “We like to see companies that address gaps in the market and benefit from the compelling demographics and emerging Egyptian middle class. To give a few examples, we continue to be very interested in healthcare, education, manufacturing, agriculture, retail and FMCG. We’re also interested in companies that are keeping up with the rapid digitalisation in the post pandemic world and find new ways to connect with consumers,” Abaza explained.

DPI’s fundraising is good news for an African private equity industry that has faced headwinds in recent years. Africa-focused PE firms had a flat first half this year and raised just USD 1.2 bn in 2020, more than 70% less than the USD 3.9 bn raised in 2019, the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association told the Financial Times. Helios, for example, agreed to a merger with a Fairfax vehicle (pdf) in a transaction that closed last year after Helios fell short of a USD 1.25 bn fundraising target.

M&A WATCH

EFG Hermes’ Vortex invests EUR 625 mn in Spanish solar developer

​​EFG Hermes’ energy investment platform Vortex Energy will invest EUR 625 mn in Spanish solar developer Ignis Energia in return for an undisclosed equity stake, the companies said in a joint statement (pdf) yesterday.

The investment has handed EFG 49% of Ignis, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. Spanish newspaper Expansion reported last week that the financial group was eyeing a 45-49% stake in the firm. Media reports in Spain earlier this year claimed that Ignis was open to selling the rest of the company to the partner several years down the road. EFG did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Enterprise.

The investment will help Ignis develop its portfolio of projects and become an integrated independent power producer in Spain, the statement said. Expansion reported last week that the company will add 3 GW of capacity to its portfolio. The capital will be deployed in several stages over the next few years “subject to certain conditions,” the statement added, without disclosing further details.

Ignis Energia is one of the largest solar energy companies in Spain, with 14.2 GW of renewables under development and 2.9 GW of assets under management.

EFG Hermes’ Vortex Energy is an investment platform that targets renewable energy investments. Vortex Energy IV, a recently launched fund by Vortex Energy and its co-investors, is its fourth fund; it has been looking to invest in a wind and solar energy developer in Spain. We have lots more on Vortex in this sit-down earlier this year with EFG Hermes’ Karim Moussa, who heads the firm’s private equity and asset management units and is CEO of Vortex Energy.

Advisors: Santander and Royal Bank of Canada provided financial advice to Vortex Energy and Watson Farley Williams acted as legal counsel. Citi acted as financial advisor to Ignis and Cuatrecasas had legal duties.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Is ACWA Power planning to bid for desalination plants in Egypt?

ACWA Power is eyeing desalination plants in Egypt, with the Saudi renewables company looking to partner with Egyptian outfits to bid for desalination projects being offered to investors by the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE), Al Mal reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources. ACWA Power denied the report when contacted by Enterprise yesterday, but the report is a reminder of the massive investment Egypt plans to make in desalination going forward.

A multi-bn USD plan: The SFE announced a USD 2.5 bn plan to develop 17 new desalination plants capable of producing a combined 2.8 mn cubic meters of desalinated water daily. The fund will hold a minority stake in the plants, which will be built, owned and operated by it alongside local and foreign investors.The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Finance Corporation will give technical support and advise on the bidding, which is slated to begin in Q1 2022.

Orascom Construction and Hassan Allam Holding have been reported to be in talks with the SFE to build several of the plants.

The initiative aims to improve the country’s water security as climate change, a rising population and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam threaten its water resources. Egypt receives only half of its required 114 bn cubic meters of water each year from natural sources. Some EGP 134 bn will be spent through 2050 to build desalination plants to provide 6.4 mn cubic meters of potable water.

Don’t count ACWA Power out of the running. The company has a significant presence in Egypt and has previously expressed interest in Egypt’s investment in desalination infrastructure. In April, ACWA was awarded a USD 114 mn financing package by the EBRD for its 200 MW Kom Ombo solar power plant. The company has minority stakes in three plants in Benban and an upcoming project with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company to convert an electricity plant in Luxor to renewable energy.

​​ COVID WATCH

Egypt to receive 8 mn Pfizer + Moderna vaccines this month

Egypt will receive a total of 8 mn doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from the US this month, all of it a donation, Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a joint press conference with US Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen (watch, runtime: 19:16). The presser was held to mark last week’s receipt of 1.6 mn doses of Pfizer, the first batch of the 8 mn-dose shipment.

Around 70% of school staff have now been vaccinated, Zayed said, adding that the figure currently stands at 95% for ministry workers and teaching staff in universities, and 35% among university students. The government has no intention of delaying the start of the school year amid rising covid-19 case numbers, given the existence of vaccine mandates for education workers and university students, she said.

Under-18s will begin to be vaccinated “very soon,” starting with high school students, Zayed added at the presser, indicating that they would likely be offered Pfizer doses. The cold chain infrastructure needed to store the vaccines is now being put in place, she suggested.

The Health Ministry reported 771 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 768 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 307,569 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 33 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 17,469.

CAPITAL MARKETS

Capital gains tax won’t put brakes on state IPO train -Tawfik

The state privatization program won’t be affected by the introduction of a capital gains tax on the EGX, Public Enterprise Minister Hisham Tawfik told CNBC Arabia. From January 2022, local investors will be required to pay a 10% capital gains tax on EGX transactions, a move that many in the finance industry argue will hit EGX trading volumes and weigh on new offerings on the exchange.

No time to tax? Tawfik downplayed the potential negative impact of the tax on the privatization program while conceding that “there is never an appropriate time to impose taxes.” The minister said that the EGX is currently in a relatively strong position, having seen major fluctuations in trading volumes over the past two years. The entry of new players will strengthen the bourse, which he said has largely struggled as the result of a lack of new offerings.

But no more delays: The government’s privatization program has seen multiple delays due to poor market conditions, and has produced just a single secondary sale by Eastern Company since launching in 2018.

This comes as five state-owned companies are preparing to list on the Egyptian bourse, which according to Tawfik should make their debuts by the end of the fiscal year in June 2022. There are also offerings in the pipeline for several large government-owned firms beyond that date, he said. First up is E-Finance, which is currently in the middle of book-building and is due to kick off the retail portion of its IPO later this week.

The finance industry has pushed back on the introduction of the tax, warning that the timing is unwise given that the EGX is still recovering from the impact of the pandemic. Head of industry lobby group the Egyptian Capital Market Association (ECMA) Mohamed Maher warned last month that the tax is being introduced at an inappropriate time while a small group of MPs plan to relitigate the policy in parliament over the coming weeks, claiming that trading volumes could drop precipitously if it goes ahead.

The tax was the securities industry’s idea in the first place, Tawfik said. The capital gains tax is being implemented at the suggestion of experts and traders on the EGX, Tawfik claimed, saying that ECMA had put forward the idea as a fairer alternative to stamp duty. He said that for traders, the 10% tax on net earnings would be fairer than a flat fee stamp tax that must be paid regardless of whether securities post gains or losses.

Though some prefer the idea of a flat tax: Among a small group of MPs who last week said they would draft legislation aiming to postpone the introduction of the tax for another year, some members had proposed that the government instead levy a development fee or stamp tax on market transactions. They have yet to make clear how their alternative taxes would be more palatable to local investors than what Maait is pushing through.

The EGX has hardly outperformed since Finance Minister Mohamed Maait announced its reintroduction on 22 September, falling around 1.6% over the past two weeks leaving it down 3.9% YTD. But the tax is not solely to blame for the dip: It’s likely that both retail investors and domestic institutions are liquidating positions so they have capital to sink into E-Finance’s IPO.

CAPITAL MARKETS

Banque Misr considers launching low-carbon ETF tracker fund

A low-carbon ETF tracker fund could be coming to the EGX: Banque Misr is considering launching an EGX-listed tracker fund allowing traders to invest in companies included in Refinitiv and the Arab Federation of Exchanges’ (AFE) MENA low-carbon index, Vice Chairman Akef El Maghraby told Al Borsa. Both Banque Misr and its investment arm Misr Capital declined to comment on the matter when approached by Enterprise.

This will be the first exchange-traded fund in the region to track the Refinitiv AFE Low Carbon Select Index, which was launched last year to provide investors with access to low-carbon equities across the Middle East and North Africa. EFG Hermes and CIB are among the 30 constituents that make up the index, which includes banks and companies mainly drawn from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar.

Also from Banque Misr: Misr Capital’s EGP 500 mn real estate investment fund will start operations before the end of this year, El Maghraby said. Earlier this year, the Banque Misr subsidiary submitted to the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) the incorporation documents for the company, which will invest directly in real estate assets, rather than purchasing shares in EGX-listed real estate companies.

MOVES

Moushira Khattab has been named the new president of the National Council for Human Rights, (watch, runtime: 4:08). Khattab has previously held top government and diplomatic posts including serving as minister for family and population, assistant minister of foreign affairs, and as ambassador to Czechoslovakia, among other posts.

SAP has appointed Mohammed Samy (LinkedIn) as its new managing director in Egypt, according to Intelligent CIO. Samy will be succeeding Hoda Mansour (LinkedIn) who has been in the position for almost four years. Samy has been in SAP for almost eight years, and has headed up the company’s energy and utilities, and telecom units in the UAE.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

FX reserves inch up in September. Plus: Taxing influencers and IDH launches a new radiology location

Egypt’s foreign currency reserves inched up USD 153 mn in September, reaching USD 40.83 bn from USD 40.67 bn in August, official figures released by the Central Bank of Egypt yesterday showed. FX reserves had risen USD 62.9 mn in August, after a slight USD 3 mn increase in June. Reserves are getting closer to their pre-covid peak of USD 45.5 bn in February 2020 after falling almost USD 10 bn due largely to a covid-induced sell-off of emerging-market assets around the world.

Online content creators will be able to register with the Tax Authority through their residential address by using a contract or recent bill, in measures meant to encourage YouTubers, Instagrammers, bloggers, vloggers to start paying income tax, head of the Egyptian Tax Authority Reda Abdel Kader told Al Borsa. The crackdown on online tax evasion seeks to include online content creators in the formal economy and is already afforded under the 2005 tax act, which stipulates that all income must be taxed, Tax Authority officials said last week.

Online content creators who make more than EGP 500k a year will be required to charge VAT on any services offered via their platforms.

EGX- and LSE-listed healthcare player Integrated Diagnostics Holding (IDH) launched Al-Borg Scan’s third branch, this time in Heliopolis, according to a company statement. Al-Borg’s first branch in East Cairo, it will offer patients MRIs, CT scans, ECGs and EMGs.

Egypt’s new ambassador to Ethiopia, Mohamed Omar Gad, presented his credentials yesterday to Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde, state-owned Ethiopian News Agency reported, according to Arab News.

Egyptian smartphone maker Sico has begun assembling handsets for unnamed Indian and Chinese companies as it aims to become the go-to contract maker of electronics for Africa, CEO Mohamed Salem told Bloomberg. Sico, which is 20% owned by the ICT ministry, also plans to eventually produce other electronics including TVs, satellite receivers, and e-payments systems for outside pirates, Salem added.

Middle-income homebuyers are now eligible for 25-year loans under changes the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) made yesterday to a subsidized mortgage financing scheme it introduced in late 2019, the CBE said in a press release (pdf). The program — which gives individuals earning up to 40k, and households earning up to 50k per month access to a preferential 8% interest rate on their mortgage — had previously only supported loans with maturities of up to 20 years.

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

  • EFG Hermes and Microsoft are collaborating on a cloud partnership to accelerate EFG’s digital transformation and modernize its IT environment, the companies said in a statement (pdf).
  • The House of Representatives gave its preliminary approval to a draft law which imposes harsher penalties for bullying people with disabilities. Bullies could face a minimum of two years in prison or an EGP 50-100k fine.
  • The House also gave its final approval to a presidential decision granting government the authority to impose precautionary measures in the Sinai peninsula, including the imposition of a curfew in some areas and the evacuation of others.

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Facebook was the talk of the town on the airwaves. The outage of apps and products owned by the social media giant, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, was by far the dominant topic, with every single talking head devoting large segments to the blackout.

El Hekaya’s Amr Adib delved deep into the technical side of the outage during an interview with Dubai-based ICT professor Anas Al Nagdawy, who said Facebook’s internal servers were completely unreachable (watch, runtime: 5:01). Adib’s better half, Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi, was meanwhile wondering whether we could live without social media (watch, runtime: 1:17) — and discussed the economic impact of the outage on Facebook Inc, whose shares lost nearly 5% by the end of the trading day. El Hadidi also drew attention to Frances Haugen — the former Facebook employee and data scientist who exposed the shady inner workings of Zuckerberg’s empire on 60 Minutes on Sunday night, as well as to the Federal Trade Commission antitrust case against the company. Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa also got on the bandwagon, discussing how mns took to Twitter as a substitute for Facebook’s apps (watch, runtime: 7:23).

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s meetings with officials to review national projects also got some airtime. El Sisi recapped work on desalination projects taking place across the country in one of the meetings and separately followed up on infrastructure and road works taking place in upper Egypt. You can tune in to Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 4:20) or Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:52 and runtime: 4:18) for more details.

Also on the airwaves last night: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s presser after a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow (watch, runtime: 3:10). Libya seemed to be the number one topic of discussion during the meeting, with the two ministers discussing the country’s upcoming general election and upholding the ceasefire between warring Libyan rivals, Shoukry said. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia also came up.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It’s a soft news kind of morning for Egypt in the internatioanl press: Egypt’s Sovereign Wealth Fund’s plans to reimagine and redesign downtown Cairo by repurposing defunct government buildings — such as the infamous Mogamaa — is getting ink from Reuters. Also, the 72-year-old cinephile Makram Salama from Alexandria also got a mention from the newswire for his rich private collection of “negatives, posters and projectors [that] traces the history of Egyptian cinema through its 20th century heyday.”

PLANET FINANCE

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Things are looking up for global trade: The World Trade Organization (WTO) raised its 2021 and 2022 global merchandise trade forecasts, with the 2021 prediction currently sitting at 10.8% from the previously forecasted 8% and 2022 forecasts increasing to 4.7% from 4%, according to WTO statement. “This strong growth underscores how important trade will be in underpinning the global economic recovery,” Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said. The director-general warned that continued vaccine inequity could set back economic progress, and the organization’s optimistic forecast might not be met due to “spikes in inflation, longer port delays, higher shipping rates, and extended shortages of semiconductors.”

Evergrande suspended its share trading in Hong Kong yesterday in preparation for the possible sale of its property management unit as the company scrambles to raise funds after it defaulted on bond payments last week, the Financial Times reported. Evergrande Property Services Group, which has a market cap of USD 7.1 bn, also suspended trading of its stock, saying an unnamed buyer could soon be making an offer for its shares. The company is hoping to raise more than USD 5 bn by offloading a majority stake in its property management arm, part of a huge restructuring effort to unwind the USD 305 bn debt mountain it has accumulated.

ALSO FROM CHINA- Lots of US ETF revenues, according to an analysis by Bank of America that found that nearly 25% of earnings generated by companies in ETFs following US stocks came from China, the Financial Times reports. The research found that 303 listed companies worth USD 19 tn currently make at least 5% of their revenue from China, meaning that China’s ongoing crackdown on private business could reverberate strongly in the global economy.

AND- The Biden administration has signalled it will not remove Trump-era trade tariffs on China, and will continue to insist that China uphold its purchasing commitments under the first phase of a trade deal signed in 2020, which China looks to be falling short of by 30% this year. The US may however exclude some Chinese imports from Trump-era tariffs, which it says have dragged on some sectors of the US economy. Officials did not rule out imposing further tariffs if China does not agree to limit its broad industrial subsidies, which have undercut the competitiveness of US tech exports, ahead of the first trade talks expected to be held between both countries since 2020.

Up

EGX30

10427.44

+0.6% (YTD: -3.9%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

USD at CIB

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

11,466.91

+0.1% (YTD: +32%)

Down

ADX

7,698.26

-0.3% (YTD: +52.6%)

Down

DFM

2,812.14

-0.8% (YTD: +12.9%)

Down

S&P 500

4,303.08

-1.2% (YTD: +14.6%)

Down

FTSE 100

7,011.01

-0.2% (YTD: +8.5%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 81.32

+2.6%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 5.78

+2.8%

Up

Gold

USD 1,766.60

+0.5%

Up

BTC

USD 49,391.59

+2.5% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.6% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 963 mn (38.4% below the 90-day average). Regional investors were net buyers. The index is down 3.9% YTD.

In the green: Pioneers Holding (+5.0%), MM Group (+3.8%) and Fawry (+2.6%).

In the red: Orascom Development Egypt (-3.3%), Rameda (-2.0%) and GB Auto (-1.9%).

It’s a mixed kind of day in global markets. Shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong are comfortably in the green this morning, while the Kospi (-1.9%) and Nikkei (-2.8%) are both down. Futures suggest a similar story in Europe later this morning when markets open: The CAC 40 in Paris is on track to start the day in the red, while the FTSE 100 and DAX 30 should start the day in the green. Wall Street looks (just barely) set to start the day in the green.

AROUND THE WORLD

Abiy Ahmed gets another five years in office — and Sudan faces shortages of fuel and wheat

Also worth knowing this morning:

Abiy Ahmed isn’t going anywhere anytime soon: The Ethiopian parliament confirmed incumbent prime minister Abiy Ahmed for another five-year term, despite what Reuters is calling “mounting international concern of his government's handling of the conflict in northern Ethiopia.”

Sudan is running short of essential medicine, fuel and wheat after protesters blocked the road to Khartoum, trapping hundreds of vehicles and forcing the closure of the country’s main port since 27 September, according to a statement by the Sudanese government on Sunday.

Seven more people died in Oman’s cyclone Shaheen Monday, meaning 13 people so far have lost their lives due to the heavy winds and rain that have swept the country over past days.

A UN human rights probe found that several parties to the Libyan conflict are possibly guilty of war crimes in Libya including the shooting of migrant detainees, Reuters reports.

greenEconomy

Get ready for ESG reporting: Starting in 2022, EGX-listed firms and NBFS companies will be required to file mandatory annual ESG reports. According to a recent decree (pdf) issued by the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), corporates will have to publicly disclose their performance on key environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics each year when they submit their annual financial statements.

Here’s what’s required: EGX-listed companies and NBFS players (listed or not) with issued capital of at least EGP 100 mn will need to evaluate their ESG performance based on 21 KPIs using a designated form, a copy of which was seen by Enterprise. The document features 50 questions on everything from the operational environmental footprint of firms to metrics on diversity, anti-discrimination, and health and safety. Companies will need to check yes/no boxes and add clarification on each question’s response. The document will need to be included as an annex in their board of directors’ reports.

(** NEED HELP GETTING READY? ** Our parent company can help. Inktank is Egypt’s leading investor relations, ESG and corporate reporting firm. Reach out to Fady Sherif on fsherif@inktankir.com if you’d like to get the conversation started.)

The document is not required until companies make their annual submissions but the FRA has distributed it ahead of time to help firms understand how disclosures will be written, what information will be needed, and what ESG metrics they need to work on, Sina Hbous, the executive director of the Regional Center for Sustainable Finance and the advisor to the FRA’s Sustainability Center’s chairman, told Enterprise.

Larger firms will have to go the extra mile: Firms with issued capital of EGP 500 mn will have to submit the report as well as report on certain performance indicators from the Task Force on Climate Financial Disclosure (TFCD). Sina tells us that not all the TFCD provisions were chosen, but rather those that are “suitable to the local market and that companies can mandate or comply with, with little tweaking to their governance structure.” The provisions include whether they have guidelines to track climate risk and whether firms integrate and address the risk in their short and long-term strategy. The TFCD portion also asks whether they measure their carbon footprint and report it publicly. However, more advanced provisions such as scenario analysis were left out, Sina added.

In the meantime: Before making the first submission with their FY2022 financials, companies will be required to provide quarterly updates on the steps they’re taking to comply with the decree. They can also voluntarily submit the document ahead of time to get one-on-one feedback from the FRA before making the official submission at the end of the financial year, Habous said. These reports will not be made public.

Climate and environment-related KPIs constitute more than half of the report: A number of questions ask whether firms have policies around environmental protection, waste recycling, water and energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. A more direct line of questioning follows, with the report inquiring into whether and how their activity in these areas is monitored regularly. Firms who claim to measure their emissions will need to disclose how many metric tons of carbon dioxide they emitted during the year.

A second set of climate-related prompts focus more on governance: The board is assessed on a number of metrics that assess the level of ESG consideration in strategy, investments, product development, and corporate risk management framework. The reporting in this area aims to decipher whether management undertakes new ventures and sets its outlook with climate change risks in mind. No numerical figures are required in this section.

Gender equality and diversity are assessed carefully: A number of social KPIs asks companies whether they disclose information such as the number of employees based on a full time basis, the percentage of employees by gender and position level, and average incomes of male employees versus female employees. Another asks whether firms reveal the composition of their boards, a requirement that comes in the wake of new diversity targets aiming to increase female representation on the boards of listed companies.

Firms also need to keep in mind the anti-discrimination KPI, which asks whether the company has strict policies against [redacted] harasment or discrimination based on religion, gender, or ethnicity.

Employee health, safety, and rights: Firms will be required to report whether they adopt a health and safety policy for workers, disclosing how many adverse incidents occurred during the year and the number of training hours provided on health and safety and ESG matters. Internal regulations concerning worker’s rights and child labor should also be disclosed and firms need to elaborate as to whether or not they are in line with global standards such as those posed by the International Labor Organization. Follow up questions to this section prompt firms to disclose whether their health and safety, worker’s rights, and child labor policies extend to the vendors and distributors that the firm works with.

SDGs are also an assessment point: Whether or not the company aligns its operations with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is also up for discussion, with an additional prompt to specify if the corporate efforts on this front are communicated in reports. ESG disclosures and sustainability reports should be in line with international standards, such as those set by the Global Reporting Initiative, the CDP, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, the IIRC, or United Nations Global Compact, the report indicates.

Important, but not deeply delved into metrics: Data privacy is also on the FRA’s radar, with the document asking whether firms adopt regulations concerning information protection other than the data privacy and consumer protection laws set by Egypt. As for impacting investing, firms are asked a single question of whether they have a policy or framework in place. Other factors firms will need to report on include corporate social responsibility commitments, ethics and code of conduct, bribes and anti-corruption policies, and staff turnover.


Your top climate stories for the week:

CALENDAR

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

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

3-5 October (Sunday-Tuesday): Pharmaconex, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

5 October (Tuesday): Senate returns from recess; new legislative session begins.

5 October (Tuesday): Afreximbank will host a preparatory conference (pdf) for the intra-African Trade Fair 2021 at the Westin Cairo Golf Resort & Spa.

6 October (Wednesday): Armed Forces Day.

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

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

9-15 October (Saturday-Friday): Turathna Exhibition, Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, Egypt.

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

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

15-21 October (Friday-Thursday): Intra-African Trade Fair 2021, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

18 October (Monday): E-Finance begins trading on EGX.

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.

28 October (Thursday): Second tranche of overdue subsidy payouts will be handed to eligible exporters.

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

31 October (Saturday): World Cities Day, Luxor, 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, Egypt International Exhibition Centre.

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

8-10 December (Wednesday-Thursday): Global Forum for Higher Education and Scientific Research (GFHS), Cairo, Egypt.

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.

15 December (Wednesday): Deadline for joint stock companies and investment companies in Cairo to join e-invoicing platform.

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

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

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

19 February 2022 (Saturday): Public universities begin the second term of the 2021-2022 academic year.

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.

2H2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

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

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

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