Tuesday, 12 October 2021

EnterpriseAM — e-Finance boosts IPO size amid strong demand from institutional investors

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to hump day. We had crazy thunder and lightning overnight, accompanied by light rain. There’s still rumbling in all four corners of the capital city as we slide toward dispatch time, and the air outside is as thick as pea soup, with humidity at 85%.

Our favourite weather app shows there’s a chance of more thunder, lightning and light rain until about 8am, after which we’ll see sunny skies and a high of 34°C.

It’s probably a good idea to throw your work / school / whatever address into Maps this morning and see whether you want to leave a few minutes early to beat traffic.

BIG NEWS HERE AT HOME- EFG Hermes has met all regulatory conditions necessary to complete its acquisition of a 76% stake in the Arab Investment Bank in partnership with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE), according to a statement (pdf) from EFG. The next step: EFG and the SFE will take possession of newly issued capital increase shares in AIB. This comes shortly after the two institutions received cabinet approval for the transaction. The two institutions will acquire the shares via an EGP 3.8 bn capital increase, which will raise the bank’s capital to EGP 5 bn and give EFG a 51% stake and SFE 25% once executed.

Are new real estate industry regulations on the works? Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and top officials including the housing minister held a meeting with several unnamed real estate investors and developers yesterday to discuss potential new regulations for the sector. While there was nothing concrete on what those regs would entail, a cabinet statement noted they could cover what developers can and can’t do with so-called maintenance payments collected from homebuyers and nationwide standards on payment plans and construction timelines, among other things we’re yet to hear more on. Housing ministry officials had last month floated the prospect that developers could soon come under new regulations designed to mitigate risk in the sector, while parliamentarians are currently considering sweeping regulatory changes to the sector.

HAPPENING TODAY-

The IMF’s updated World Economic Outlook is set to be released this morning as the IMF / World Bank Fall Meetings enter their second day. You can find the report on its landing page here once it’s released at c. 3pm CLT.

A little bit of foreshadowing? Goldman Sachs has cut its forecast for US growth in 2021 and 2022, “blaming a delayed recovery in consumer spending.” The analysts “now expect growth of 5.6% on an annual basis in 2021 versus their previous estimate of 5.7%, and 4% next year, down from 4.4%,” Bloomberg reports.

IT’S A BIG DAY FOR- Embattled IMF director Kristalina Georgieva, who now looks set to serve out her term in office after the IMF’s executive board issued a lengthy statement that says it has “full confidence” in Georgieva’s “leadership and ability to continue to effectively carry out her duties. The board trusts in the managing director’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of governance and integrity in the IMF,” it added.

The background: Georgieva has been being dogged by allegations she pressured staff to fudge data and boost China’s ranking in the now-defunct Doing Business report. Leading European members of the board were pushing for Georgieva to finish her full term in office, while the US and Japan are apparently leading a faction of countries that want her tenure cut short. Her five-year appointment would normally expire in fall 2024. Reuters has more on the story.


THE BIG STORY ABROAD- It’s the energy crisis, which dominates headlines in the global business press and beyond this morning.

US crude hit a fresh seven-year high (breaking the USD 80 / barrel mark) and Brent, the international benchmark, looks set to hit USD 85 even as there are signs that consumption is dropping because of rising prices. The price of oil is up more than 16% since the start of September, driven by global economic growth, a shortage of natural gas, and careful management by OPEC+.

The story leads the front pages of the Financial Times, the WSJ and Bloomberg.

The natural gas shortage and rising prices are hitting industrial and household consumers in Europe, where natural gas consumption is now 12% lower than before the pandemic, Bloomberg reports. This comes as falling temperatures are about to start driving fresh demand.

Supply to Europe is continuing to get worse, as Algeria yesterday officially announced it will no longer be pumping gas into Spain via a pipeline that cuts through Morocco due to long standing political tensions, and will instead ship LNG on board vessels, Algeria’s official press agency said.

The world’s largest natgas exporter, Qatar, also says it can’t do anything about the record prices and has no supplies left for export, even as steelmakers in Britain and Spain and large factories in China say they’re quickly running out of energy, Reuters reported yesterday.

The shortage of natural gas and rising oil prices are not going to be good for the environment: India said over the weekend that it has locked in plenty of coal to fire its power plants, while coal futures in China have hit an all-time high as severe floods compounded the country’s energy crisis, the FT reports.

SIGN OF THE TIMES- JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon continues to wage jihad against BTC, blasting cryptocurrencies as “worthless” and saying the burgeoning industry will inevitably be regulated by governments.

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

  • Pioneers Holding is now Aspire Capital Holding: The EGX Listing Committee approved Pioneer Holding’s rebranding to Aspire Holding, after splitting into a real estate investment arm and another that will house its manufacturing investments.
  • Supply chain woes and the energy crisis are still top-of-mind in the global press, with aluminum prices soaring and shipping delays leaving US shoppers without Halloween decorations.
  • Playtime’s over? In the wake of China’s new restrictions on video game play for minors, we take a look at how the rise of gaming disorders is affecting players and the industry.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Our next long weekend is coming up: ​​​​The Prophet Muhammad’s birthday falls on Monday, 18 October. We expect a three-day weekend starting Thursday, 21 October. Look for confirmation from the cabinet toward the end of the week.

Conference season ratchets up this month, with a number of exhibitions and business events here and throughout the region taking place this week, including:

  • The Turathna Exhibition at the Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, which will run until Friday, 15 October.
  • The International Conference on Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East kicks off in Nicosia this Wednesday. The conference brings together 65 of leading policymakers, scientists and diplomats from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Greece to advocate for a move away from fossils toward renewables in the region. You can check out its website here.
  • Further down the road: The Middle East Angel Investment Network is hosting its Angel Oasis in El Gouna on 27-29 October, with separate pricing for in-person and virtual attendance.

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: Part II of our look into the new ESG reporting requirements is out today with a poll that included IR professionals from Edita, Cleopatra Hospital, and ElSewedy Electric. The three EGX-listed firms, which already issue sustainability reports, gave us the rundown on what it takes to begin implementing the new requirements, what challenges they faced, and whether it helped boost investments from foreign institutions.

enterprise

IPO WATCH

e-Finance ups its share offering to 26.1%

State-owned fintech firm e-Finance raised the size of its offering to 26.1% from 16.1%, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) said in a statement (pdf). The company raised the size of offering to institutional investors to 23.5% after demand amid very strong demand from fund and portfolio managers, one of the IPO quarterbacks told Reuters. The company will now offer 417.8 mn shares instead of 257.8 mn originally. The subscription period for the institutional offering ended yesterday.

Meanwhile, the subscription period for the retail offering is ongoing and will continue to run until the close of the trading session on Sunday, 17 October. By our math, the size of the retail offering also appears to have been increased to 2.6% from the original allocation of 1.6%.

The company is expected to announce today how it will price the offering. At the EGP 12.50-13.98 range outlined in its price range release, the IPO will be one of the largest the country has seen in recent years: It could be worth as much as EGP 3.6 bn and value e-finance at up to EGP 22.37 bn.

Advisors: Renaissance Capital, CI Capital and Al Ahly Pharos are quarterbacking the transaction as co-lead managers. NI Capital is acting as the IPO advisor for the listing. Zaki Hashem & Partners has been appointed as counsel to e-Finance, while Norton Rose Fulbright is acting as US counsel to the co-lead managers. Inktank is the investor relations advisor.

IN OTHER IPO NEWS- Another state-owned company could offer shares on the EGX before the year is out, Planning Minister Hala El Said said, according to this morning’s Al Borsa print edition (pdf). El Said declined to name the company, which would go to market as part of the state privatization program. Public Enterprise Minister Hisham Tawfik recently said that e-Finance is the first among five state-owned companies currently prepping up to hit the bourse before the end of the state’s fiscal year next June.

Who are the potential candidates? El Mahalla Spinning and Weaving Company’s Ghazl El Mahalla sports club was previously said to be lined up for a state-led IPO to list around two-thirds of its shares on the EGX as early as this month. Banque du Caire had planned to debut 20-30% of its shares on the EGX in April 2020 but shelved plans due to the onset of the pandemic.

It may not even be an IPO: Already-listed Alexandria Containers, Abu Qir Fertilizers, and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals have also pushed back sales of additional stakes in the companies.

DEBT WATCH

Egypt’s external debt is still growing (thank you, covid), but at a slower pace than before

Egypt’s debt is growing, but the pace of growth slowing, says the WB: Egypt’s external debt grew 14.3% y-o-y to USD 131.6 bn in 2020, up from USD 115.1 bn in 2019, according to the World Bank’s International Debt Statistics 2022 report, which came out today. That said, the data shows a marginal slowdown in the annual growth of Egypt’s external debt, continuing a years-long downward trend in the pace of acceleration. External debt was up 14.9% y-o-y in 2019, after growing 18.3% y-o-y in 2018, and 22.5% y-o-y in 2017.

It was about covid, stupid: While IMF loans to Egypt were up 55% y-o-y in 2020 to hit USD 20.4 bn, according to the report, these were largely due to emergency pandemic loans. The report refers to the USD 2.8 bn rapid financing instrument (RFI), disbursed in May 2020 to help Egypt support its balance of payments amid the pandemic. We also received USD 3.6 bn in 2020 of the one-year USD 5.2 bn standby loan approved by the IMF. As for eurobonds, the government tapped the bond market with a USD 5 bn eurobond issuance in May last year. And then there were all the other forms of loans secured by both the government and the private sector to sustain us during the pandemic year, including fiscal assistance loans, development loans, sukuk, green bonds and securitization.

FDI also suffered, but but what did you expect of a global pandemic and subsequent meltdown? Fresh FDI into Egypt tumbled 35% to USD 5.9 bn in 2020, down from USD 9 bn in 2019 — its lowest recorded level since 2014. That comes “despite concerted efforts to promote diversification of FDI” in Egypt, including attempts to revive the long-dormant USD 16 bn Saudi-Egypt investment fund, according to the report. It added that Egyptian FDI remains highly concentrated in oil and gas.

Our debt and FDI levels, however, were worse than the MENA average: External debt across the MENA region increased 8.5% to USD 370 bn in 2020, up from USD 341 bn, while Meanwhile, FDI inflows to MENA fell 16 percent on average to USD 14.3 bn, down from USD 16.9 bn a year before, amid a regional slowdown in investment.

Low and middle-income countries were forced to dig their debt hole deeper: External debt among poorer nations increased 5.3% to USD 8.7 tn in 2020, as they tried to head off the pandemic with massive emergency stimulus measures. The average increase in external debt among low and middle-income countries excluding China stood at 3.4%. Elevated levels of debt put emerging-market economies in a risky position, according to World Bank Group President David Malpass. “We need a comprehensive approach to the debt problem, including debt reduction, swifter restructuring and improved transparency,” he said in a press release accompanying the annual report.

You can find the report on the landing page here or download the full 207-page report here (pdf).


IN OTHER DEBT NEWS- Local sukuk issuances in 2021 are forecast to reach EGP 7.5 bn by the end of the year, head of the Financial Regulatory Authority’s financial instruments department Sayed Abdel Fadeel told Al Borsa. According to Abdel Fadeel, EGP 5 bn-worth of issuances are expected to hit the market before 2022 rolls around, bringing the total for this year up three-fold. Only one company, Contact Financial, has issued sharia-compliant debt since the start of the year. Planned offerings we know of include an EGP 5.5 bn sale for Palm Hills Development, an EGP 3 bn issuance for Hassan Allam Properties, and an EGP 1.1 bn offering for Amer Group. Wadi Degla Developments over the summer also revealed plans for a sukuk issuance worth some EGP 2 bn through Contact.

M&A WATCH

Pioneers Holding is now Aspire

Pioneers Holding is now Aspire Capital Holding: The EGX Listing Committee approved yesterday Pioneer Holding’s rebranding to Aspire Capital Holding, the company said in a statement (pdf). The move follows Pioneer splitting into two arms: A real estate investment arm now called Pioneers Properties and Gadwa Industrial Development, which will house its manufacturing investments. The parent company will remain the financial services arm. Shares in both subsidiaries started trading on the EGX30 yesterday, according to separate statements here and here (pdfs).

What the subsidiaries look like post-demerger: Hit the links for the rundown on each company’s authorized and issued capital as well as share structure post-transaction.

How the market digested the news: Aspire Capital saw its stock price surge 98.1% in yesterday’s trading to EGP 0.42, while Pioneers Properties fell 18.1% to EGP 3.27 and Gadwa fell 2.8% to EGP 1.66.

Management: Waleed Zaki, Aspire’s chairman, is now the managing director and chairman of Pioneers Properties and non-executive chairman of Gadwa, Zaki told Al Mal. Both companies’ boards have also been formed, Zaki said.

Background: The demerger has been in the works since 2019, when Pioneers Holding announced its plans to restructure and split into three companies. The company’s shareholders approved plans to split the firm last July. The company hopes the move will create value for shareholders by making its various activities more easily understood by investors.

Coffee With

Coffee with Basil Moftah, general partner at Global Ventures

Enterprise talks to Basil Moftah, general partner at Global Ventures: Dubai-based VC fund Global Ventures invests in technology startups across emerging markets. Being more of a B2B than a B2C investor, the fund is most excited about foodtech, fintech, B2B commerce, healthtech and B2B edtech, among others. Its portfolio in Egypt includes stakes in Elmenus, Minly, Yodawy and Thndr, among others. The sector-agnostic fund’s most recent local investment saw B2B e-commerce platform Cartona getting a USD 4.5 mn pre-series A round.

We sat down with Moftah to talk about the fund’s local plans, Egypt’s “fintech moment,” the rise of SPACs, startup growth metrics and exit strategies.

Edited excerpts from our conversation:

Egypt will end up being one of Global Ventures’ most substantial capital allocations this coming year. The firm is planning to invest USD 15 mn in Egypt from now until the end of 2021, and USD 20-30 mn in 2022, with a focus on B2B startups. And its physical presence here will also grow: Global Ventures’ Egypt office will be its largest outside of the UAE by year-end, growing to 10-12 people by the end of 2021 after having been in Egypt for the past three years.

So far, it has made eight investments totaling USD 17 mn in Egyptian startups, such as Yodawy, Thndr, Minly and Elmenus. Collectively, it has led rounds of over USD 35 mn in Egypt, of which the biggest was Paymob’s USD 18 mn round.

Egypt is clearly having its fintech moment. “As of July 2021, we found 109 fintech startups in Egypt alone. So in total, there must be a couple of hundred fintech startups in Egypt at this point,” Moftah says. There is also a rising openness from banks, companies and regulators to rely on fintech for payments, salaries or salary loans, he adds.

(Some context from Enterprise: In 2020, over USD 15 mn of VC funding in Egypt went to fintech startups, according to Magnitt’s 2020 Egypt Venture Investment Report. As per our internal trackers, fintech startups have attracted investment of some USD 164.5 mn year-to-date. This includes MNT-Halan’s blockbuster investment round of USD 120 mn, Paymob’s USD 18.5 mn and Dopay’s USD 18 mn rounds.)

The fintech boom has legs, but investors need to tread cautiously when screening potential portfolio companies, Moftah suggests. The fear stems from two main issues: First, success attracts a lot of people who may not know what it entails to build a fintech startup, so the investor needs to be extra cautious to spot the entrepreneurs with real ideas and stamina, Moftah says. Second, dealing with people’s money needs to be coupled with security and privacy standards. There is worry about how these startups manage security, privacy and the money itself. “You have to be cautious as an investor because you have a shared duty to have the company do its best to be well managed, and not be subject to fraud,” he adds.

Investing is a bit like getting married: “You can date a lot and meet lots of different companies, but when you invest, you have to think about the things that matter in the long-term,” Moftah says. These include the personality of the people involved in the business, such as founders and other investors. In the long-term, founders get influenced by other people on the cap table, so it is crucial to see “who they bring to the party.” Other than that, the idea itself and its potential, the market size, the developed product and signs of real traction are high up on the priority list.

No copycat gene? It’s too simplistic to say that local startups are copies of successful ventures abroad, he says. Implementing ideas from abroad in the local market requires a totally different technology, product and service, Moftah says. For example, Thndr is sometimes called the Robin Hood of Egypt. Robin Hood is for people to quick-trade or day-trade; Thndr is for people to save money and be part of economic growth.

It is about taking an idea and making it better and more relevant to a wider audience. “The premise to say that they’re copycats does not do justice to how much work and effort an entrepreneur goes through to thoughtfully implement it locally,” he explains. “What is WEchat if it’s not a copy of WhatsApp for China? But it is bigger and more important today and allows much more commerce to happen than on WhatsApp.”

Valuations are important — but not at the top of the list of Global Ventures’ selection criteria. “In spite of what people believe, valuation is the fourth or fifth priority for us. All valuations are high by definition, but what matters is whether I believe that this company can grow 10x once I put my money into it,” he adds. That doesn’t mean that valuation does not matter, but rather that there is a premium for quality entrepreneurs and long-term sustainable execution.

Post-investment, top line growth is the main metric for company growth. Global Ventures looks at double-digit, month-on-month growth, which at a minimum means the startup overall doubling every 8-12 months.

But being EBITDA-negative at the beginning is ok. “All startups are EBITDA-negative and they should stay that way for a while, because at this point, we are less interested in [a positive bottom line] than we are in increasing market share,” Moftah tells us. Other key metrics include the number of users consuming the product, how much they spend on average, and whether they are increasing or decreasing. Soft metrics like how many likes the social media page generates could be lead indicators, but they are irrelevant.

While investment rounds have become larger in Egypt and MENA, they are still marginally smaller than the global average. We previously reported that the average transaction increased about 2x in 2020 to USD 2.38 mn per transaction, compared to USD 1.12 mn in 2019, excluding clear outliers. And rounds are growing: in 2021, we’ve heard about Trella’s USD 42 mn, and MNT-Halan’s USD 120 mn round. As companies mature, they need more capital to execute, but as a percentage of GDP, the amount of money going into MENA VC tech companies is still fractionally smaller than anywhere in the world, the GP says. “The US invests 0.7% of its GDP in VC funding. In MENA, the number stands at 0.5%. This shows the [potential], the gap and the lack of funding,” he adds. Egypt’s share of investment growth is the highest in the region. In terms of ranking, the UAE tops the region, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia neck-and-neck for second place.

Larger investment rounds are not a sign of more competition, but rather a growing interest of different types of investors in the sector. For instance, private equity is definitely trying to get in on tech, as the industry is growing to a size which has ideal entry points for them, Moftah says.

The Middle East and Egypt are far behind in IPO statistics, with strategic exits trumping IPO scenarios. Globally, very few startups actually tap the stock market, as the majority (of those who survive) will see investors exit through a trade-sale. Excluding startups that fail, less than 3% of companies go on to IPO worldwide, and about 60-70% go through strategic trade sales, such as a pharmaceutical company buying a healthtech outfit, Moftah explains. The remaining are picked up by private equity players who consolidate a few startups together to create a bigger company.

Global Ventures does not actively plan IPO exits, but rather opts for strategic exits. “Fawry and SWVL have done it, but it’s still a drop in the bucket compared to global standards. We plan for strategic exits where we try to look for competitors or companies trying to get into the sectors to buy the startup. We don’t actively plan for IPOs because they are a very unlikely event,” he says. In the end, the market — not the investors — dictates a startup’s exit strategy. The final decision is up to the portfolio company and its management to decide to either sell or tap public markets.

Governance is the main challenge Egyptian startups face, just like in other emerging markets. Global Ventures spends a lot of time with companies on setting up their governance structure. “The understanding of it is not there. It is as much about control as it is about transparency, duties and responsibilities,” Moftah tells us.

enterprise

ENTERPRISE+: LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

It was another mellow night on the airwaves, with education and diplomacy among the highlights. Amr Adib again noted the lack of social distancing in and around schools as students return to classrooms (watch, runtime: 1:43). Education Minister Tarek Shawky told the El Hekaya host that Egypt faces a massive challenge to social distancing with the return of in person schooling during covid due to its large student body (watch, runtime: 1:02).

Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lubna Assal took note of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's arrival in Budapest to attend a summit with the Visegrád Group, in which Egypt is participating for the second time (watch, runtime: 2:49). We noted Egypt’s participation in the summit in yesterday’s EnterprisePM.

Egypt’s 3-0 win against Libya in the World Cup qualifiers also got some airtime, with Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi speaking to retired footballer Hosni Abd Rabo, who dissected the team’s winning strategy (watch, runtime 3:37). Adib chatted with footballer turned manager Mido, who praised Pharaohs’ newly appointed coach, Carlos Queiroz (watch, runtime 12:10).

The mysteriousSahel Bridge microbus” seems to have taken a dive, after all. El Hadidi phoned El Watan editor-in-chief Samy Abdel Rady, who said there’s video evidence of an unidentified “white body” falling off the Sahel bridge in Embaba on Sunday (watch, runtime: 5:28). As of dispatch time, the vehicle was yet to be found.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Dreamland no longer has beef with state-owned banks: Conglomerate Bahgat Group’s Dreamland Egypt has reached a settlement agreement with state-owned National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr after years of lawsuits and arbitration proceedings between both sides that ended in the banks’ favor, according to a press release (pdf). The settlement, which relieves Dreamland of its large debt pile owed to both lenders, was reached after the company transferred ownership of 4 mn sqm of land in “premier locations” to a real estate investment arm owned by NBE and Banque Misr, the release noted.

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

  • Egyptian cotton exports and exports of products made by state-owned Cotton and Textiles Holding Company will soon be labelled with a unique Egyptian brand set to be announced by the Public Enterprises Ministry next January.
  • The Suez Canal Authority was ranked second on Forbes’ 10 Biggest Logistics Companies in MENA, trailing behind Dubai’s DP World, which came in first place.

COVID WATCH

We’re in the middle of the fourth wave of covid-19 –Tag El Din

The Health Ministry reported 846 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 837 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 313,256 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 31 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 17,726.

Cases have been on an upward trend in recent days, presidential health advisor Mohamed Awad Tag El Din said on the airwaves last night (watch, runtime: 4:40). We’re currently in the middle of a fourth wave which has yet to reach its peak, he added.

Pregnant women and women who’ve recently given birth can safely get vaccinated, Tag El Din separately said (watch, runtime: 4:27). Some types of vaccines, which Tag El Din didn’t name, might however be risky.

Three arrested in investigation over dumped covid jabs: The Prosecutor General has ordered the arrest of three people as part of the investigation into the dumping of some 5k packages of unused Covid-19 vaccines along the banks of an irrigation canal in Minya, according to a statement on Sunday.

PLANET FINANCE

Powered by
EFG Hermes - https://efghermes.com/

It was a fast start for ACWA Power on the Tadawul, with its share price shooting up its 30% limit to SAR 72.80 within ten minutes of the company’s debut yesterday. The price stayed there until the closing bell. ACWA’s debut comes as the Gulf appears to be beckoning a so-called “IPO rush” thanks to high liquidity in the region and skyrocketing oil prices, which together have pushed Saudi’s main exchange up 33% YTD.

MORE FROM ACWA- The energy giant is expected to finalize in 1Q2022 USD bns in financing for a green hydrogen JV at megacity Neom, the company’s CEO told Reuters.

And speaking of Saudi, MbS has announced a plan to set up special economic zones, revamp regulations, and offer new incentives as part of a bid to boost FDI and sway multinationals to base their regional HQs in the kingdom. State-owned Saudi Press Agency has the story.

BTC has quietly gained 30% so far into the month, rising above USD 57k apiece after having rallied to nearly USD 57.8k mid-day, its highest level since May. Expectations seem to be pointing to an imminent all-time high over the coming weeks, according to CNBC.

Up

EGX30

10714.78

+0.5% (YTD: -1.2%)

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

Down

Tadawul

11,512.11

-0.5% (YTD: 32.5%)

Up

ADX

7,782.54

+0.7% (YTD: 54.3%)

Down

DFM

2,770.08

-0.1% (YTD: 11.2%)

Down

S&P 500

4,378.08

-0.3% (YTD: 16.6%)

Up

FTSE 100

7,146.85

+0.7% (YTD: 10.6%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 83.59

+1.5%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 5.39

-3%

Down

Gold

USD 1,755.20

-1%

Up

BTC

USD 56,774.41

+3.3% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.5% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.18 bn (23.5% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net buyers. The index is down 1.2% YTD.

In the green: Aspire Capital (+98.1%), ElSewedy Electric (+1.9%) and Credit Agricole Egypt (+1.6%).

In the red: Pioneers Properties (-18.1%), Gadwa Industrial Development (-2.8%) and Raya Holding (-1.9%)

Asian benchmarks are solidly in the red this morning and futures suggest Wall Street and much of Europe will follow suit later today. The performance comes after US shares were hit with a wave of selling yesterday to start the week.

DIPLOMACY

Egypt’s negotiations with Ethiopia over GERD are now “all but frozen,” even as talks remain sponsored by the international community and the African Union, Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty told journalists yesterday. Authorities are ready to engage in serious negotiations to reach a legally binding agreement on operating the dam, Abdel Aty said, noting that Egypt will not allow the situation to develop into a “water crisis.” After recent efforts to persuade the UN Security Council to intervene in the dispute fell flat, an exact date to resume the negotiations has yet to be set.

greenEconomy

POLL- ESG reporting is becoming mandatory in Egypt in 2022. Are EGX-listed companies ready for it? EGX-listed firms and NBFS companies will be required to file mandatory annual ESG reports starting from 2022. In Part 1, we talked about what the ESG reporting requirements are and what they'll entail. In part two, we ask EGX-listed companies about implementing the reporting requirements, how they translate into actual policies within companies, and (for those who have already started) whether they are seeing an improvement in investor sentiment as a result.

Sustainability reports aren’t new for listed companies: Elsewedy Electric undertook sustainability reporting in 2017 and now issues carbon footprint reports to monitor their plan to become carbon neutral or reach zero carbon by 2030, Senior IR Manager Tarek Yehia told us. Meanwhile, for Cleopatra Hospital, ESG reporting was implemented from the very start, said Hassan Fikry, the corporate strategy and IR director. The hospital group’s main shareholder and core investors had mandated that they receive sustainability reports even before they listed on the EGX in 2016. Edita has been issuing sustainability reports since 2018 as ESGs and active reporting increasingly became a criteria for foreign investors, Menatallah Shams El Din, Edita’s Investor Relations and Business Development Senior Director, told Enterprise. Edita is currently working on a sustainability report for 2021.

(** NEED HELP WITH YOUR OWN REPORT? ** 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.)

Which is precisely why the FRA made ESG reporting a requirement: Companies here are missing out on international partnerships and foreign investors, because they do not implement sustainability disclosures, 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. In a survey by EY, 91% of institutional investors said ESGs and other nonfinancial performance indicators have played a pivotal role in their investment decision-making in 2020.

Did the foreign investors come running? For Edita, the sustainability reports were well received by foreign investors, Shams El Din tells us. Since it’s still early days in ESG reporting, foreign investors appreciate the transparency and are more concerned with looking at strategy as opposed to where firms are now. Edita works on rolling out new and updated policies and initiatives to ensure ESG standards are met in tandem with the firm’s operational expansion, she explains. Cleopatra had a similar experience, with more and more investors asking about ESG in the past year. Investors frequently say “our ESG person will give you a call,” Fikry told us. It’s become very important and makes companies attractive to international investors when they have a good ESG story, he said.

Has putting out sustainability reports been a difficult process? Since Cleopatra was familiar with this kind of reporting internally, it only took a few months to publish a sustainability report publicly. However, in the case of Elsewedy Electric, it first took around two years to put together a sustainability report. It took time for the training and data collection to take place and for all of the factories to understand the new reporting technique before Elsewedy Electric began to tailor a digitalized system to support the data collection, Yehia said. Edita’s internal operations department has been measuring carbon emissions for years, Shams El Din said.

When it comes to implementing ESG policies, some parameters are more difficult than others, particularly environmental-related policies, IR managers tell us. For Elsewedy Electric, environmental initiatives are the hardest as they need a long-term plan while being in line with climate, water, and energy requirements and policies used globally, Yehia said. In the short-term there are added costs to adjust, purchase and upgrade facilities in factories, but in the long-term the move translates into higher quality products and growth, Yehia says. Edita has also been undertaking initiatives to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and water usage, Shams El Din said.

Meanwhile, gender and governance factors are reportedly the easiest: These parameters require adopting new policies as opposed to big investments and changes in operations, Yehia explained.

We need to bear in mind that the requirements don’t necessarily mean that companies will all now have an ESG strategy in place. “The FRA can not force firms to undertake an ESG strategy, but just push them to report on what they’re currently doing,” Hbous stressed. It’s not under the FRA’s jurisdiction to mandate that ESG practices are adopted, and the authority does not realistically expect all companies to be compliant with ESG strategies even after the grace period. However, having the reporting requirement in place keeps firms aware of the long-term threat climate change has on their operations and motivates them to undertake sustainability initiatives to stay competitive against their peers in the market.

What else can firms do internally for the transition to regular ESG reporting to go smoothly? The most important step is to start institutionalizing sustainability within the organization by having a dedicated person or department — depending on the size of the company, Hbous said. Then they should develop their own strategy or vision and outline the steps to start implementing it. “It doesn’t have to be costly at all, it’s all about efficiently managing resources,” she added.

Want more? Check out part I of our reporting on the new ESG requirements, where we break down what exactly will be required of companies once the requirements come into effect.


Your top climate stories for the week:

  • Nobel prize goes to climate change scientists: The Nobel Prize for Physics was split among Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann for their model that reliably predicts global warming.
  • Developed countries are failing to fulfill their climate duties: Developed economies, which pledged USD 100 bn annually in climate change funding, are falling USD 10 bn short.
  • Two dozen countries join the Global Methane Pledge: The pact will employ new policies to slash methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
  • Feeding cows garlic could stall climate change: Swiss biotechnology start-up Mootral has developed garlic-infused pellets which work by disrupting methane-producing enzymes in the guts of cows, one of the planet’s biggest methane emitters.

CALENDAR

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

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

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

13 October (Wednesday): Meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, Washington DC.

14-15 October (Thursday-Friday): The Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union, African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Mid-October: The Egyptian Banking Institute, the Financial Services Institute, and I-Score will begin airing in mid-October the Digital Credit Scoring Webinar Series, a line-up of webinars on the banking sector and banking regulations.

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.

30-31 October (Saturday-Sunday): G20 Leaders’ Summit, Rome, Italy.

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.

15-21 November (Monday-Sunday): Intra-African Trade Fair 2021, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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.

18-20 October 2022 (Tuesday-Thursday): Mediterranean Offshore Conference, Alexandria, Egypt.

**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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