Tuesday, 18 January 2022

AM — The EGX could see its first SPAC by the end of Jan

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends, and welcome to an incredibly busy issue packed with news of SPACs, IPOs, new debut issuance and new investment. It’s a bit like drinking from a fire hose this morning, so let’s jump straight in after this public service announcement:

PSA- It looks like we’ll need to keep wrapping up warm until at least the end of the week as cold winds from Europe sweep across the country, potentially bringing snowfall in some parts of Sinai, the national weather service forecast yesterday. In the capital, the mercury won’t get higher than 17°C between today and Sunday, while lows will remain at 8°C — a range our favourite weather app’s long-range forecast says will largely prevail through 1 February.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

Consoleya will kick off its Startup Meet-up series today with a talk from Ayman Ashour, founder and principal at Newton International Management. The talk, titled Exits and Reset Dilemmas, will see Ashour discuss how to plan for your startup’s exit and the connections you’ll need along the way. Our friend Hossam Allam from Cairo Angels will moderate the discussion. The event will take place from 6-9pm — you can register using this link.


The World Economic Forum’s virtual Davos Agenda continues today: Davos 2022 may be canceled, but that hasn’t stopped the world’s political, corporate and intellectual powerbrokers from getting together for a chin-wag. The online five-day Davos Agenda (on until Friday) is seeing world leaders, business figures and scientists deliver speeches and participate in discussions on the challenges facing the world.

Chinese president Xi Jinping is getting most of the headlines on Day 1, which also saw Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and UN secretary-general António Guterres deliver speeches. In his statement, Xi pledged to provide another 1 bn covid vaccines to African nations and — in a not-so-subtle swipe at the US — called on countries to reject what he called “a Cold War mentality” and urged greater global cooperation.

Xi also had a message for the Federal Reserve as it prepares to hike interest rates: Please, dont. “If major economies slam on the brakes or take a U-turn in their monetary policies, there would be serious negative spillovers,” he said, warning that developing countries will “bear the brunt” of the economic fallout. This came as China’s central bank went against the international trend and lowered its key interest rate for the first time in almost two years.

On the agenda for today: Japanese prime minister Kishida Fumio and Israeli PM Naftali Bennett will address the event in the morning, followed by policy discussion panels on improving vaccine equity and the need to avoid social disruption caused by the pandemic, technological changes and the transition to green energy.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

A fourth Pfizer-BioNTech jab does little to protect against the spread of omicron, preliminary results from an Israel trial have shown. While a fourth shot of the Pfizer vaccine did raise antibodies above levels recorded following a third shot in the trial’s 154 participants, that did not translate into sufficient protection against omicron, though cases were mild or non-symptomatic. The early results suggest that existing vaccines are less effective against omicron than other variants — and put into question the Israeli government’s move to vaccinate 500k over-60s in the country in recent weeks in the first rollout of fourth doses of a covid-19 vaccine globally. The AP, Reuters and Bloomberg picked up the story.

FOR TOMORROW-

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is due in town from tomorrow until Friday, in what will be the first visit to Egypt by a South Korean president in 16 years. Moon will meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi during a regional tour that will also see him swing through the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

National flag carrier EgyptAir will operate a flight from Casablanca to Cairo tomorrow to bring home Egyptian expats stranded in Morocco following border closures.

MARKET WATCH-

Brent futures traded yesterday near their highest intraday level since 2014, after posting their fourth weekly gain on Friday and holding at almost USD 87 / bbl on the back of easing omicron concerns and an intensifying winter in North America, Bloomberg reports. Prices slipped marginally yesterday, but futures are expected to rise even further in the mid-term amid signs of slowing Chinese economic growth and a tightening market, traders say.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

Applications are open until 31 March to join the Femtech Accelerator Program run by Flat6Labs and women’s healthcare firm Organon. The four-month-long virtual accelerator will support women-led digital healthcare start-ups operating in MENA to build products, test market fit and improve business models. You can register at this link.

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: Tires are a notoriously difficult product to dispose of: they’re non-biodegradable and full of chemicals that harm the environment whether burned or stacked up in landfills. Egypt, like many countries around the world, is inundated with mns of scrap tires every year. Yet, it doesn’t have a formal system to process the waste, nor a regulatory system that ensures that the network of informal dealers and workshops that recycle tires are following environmental and public health protocols.

enterprise

Escape to a slice of bay paradise where golden sunsets touch the open sea. Somabay: so magnetic, every day.

EGX

Egypt’s first-ever SPAC to list on EGX by next month -Omran

Make way for our first SPAC: Egypt’s first blank-check company will be established within the next month, Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) chief Mohamed Omran told Bloomberg Asharq yesterday. “At the end of this month or early next month, we will have the first blank check company,” he said. The SPAC would be the first to list on the EGX and would have initial capital — pre fundraising — of EGP 10 mn, which is the minimum requirement set by the FRA.

Who’s involved: A consortium of Egyptian and international companies is planning to file for a license from the FRA to establish a SPAC, Zulficar & Partners founding partner Anwar Zeidan told Enterprise, without disclosing the names of the companies. After receiving FRA approval, the group will reveal more details on its plans, including the amount of capital it’s looking to raise.

What’s next: Once the consortium has obtained a venture capital license, a board of directors will be appointed, with a chairman who complies with the FRA’s regulations and guidelines for private equity firms. The blank-check firm would then be publicly listed on the EGX and have one month in which to raise capital from investors via a share sale. The funds raised would be placed in an interest-bearing bank account for a maximum of two years while it looks for a company to acquire or merge with —but you can probably expect that they’ll have a target in mind pre-listing. The SPAC must have at least EGP 100 mn in capital to complete an acquisition or merger and at least 80% of the SPAC’s capital must be used to acquire a target company.

Background: The FRA issued late last year the rules and regulations for establishing local blank-check firms, after the regulator greenlit EGX boss Mohamed Farid’s proposal to allow SPACs in Egypt. The proposal was partly driven by an increased interest in SPACs in the MENA region, following Swvl’s move to merge with blank-check firm US Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital and list on the Nasdaq, as well as Anghami’s plans to follow suit.

What about Swvl and Anghami? Queen’s Gambit is looking to close with Swvl this month, the domestic press quoted Swvl CEO Mostafa Kandil as saying last month. The company updated its SEC filing in late December. Anghami is looking to close by 11 February. You can check out its latest investor presentation here.

What’s a SPAC again? A special purpose acquisition company is a type of shell company used by investors to acquire firms. SPACs raise money from the public in an IPO and then use the proceeds to merge with or acquire an appropriate company. Check out our handy explainer for more on how SPACs work.

IPO WATCH

Nahr Elkhair shares could begin trading on the EGX this week -Omran

IPO WATCH- Nahr Elkhair Development and Investment’s shares could begin trading on the EGX this week, Al Borsa quoted Financial Regulatory Authority chief Mohamed Omran as saying at a presser yesterday. The company will offer shares to investors at EGP 0.25 a piece and is valuing itself at EGP 500 mn, according to the public subscription notice (pdf) published yesterday. Nahr will sell as much as 61.5% of its shares on the bourse, potentially giving the IPO a transaction value of c. EGP 307 mn.

About the company: Nahr Elkhair is an agricultural company with a footprint in environmental services, livestock, land reclamation and agricultural investment. The company is chaired by Ahmed Mohamed Rafqy Abdel Rahim, while Ahmed Mohamed Sayed Gamea is managing director. Gamea is a major shareholder in the firm, holding a 40% stake.

Financials: Nahr Elkhair generated a net income of EGP 7.4 mn in 2020 on revenues of EGP 61.7 mn. This is up from 2019 when earnings came in at EGP 3.5 mn, and 2018 when it EGP 1.3 mn in net income.

Forecasts: The company’s projected earnings for 2021 are EGP 20.9 mn. It is targeting an EGP 34.9 mn bottom line in 2022 and EGP 185.8 mn by 2026, the filing suggests.

Advisors: Osoul Arabia Investment and Financial Consultancy is providing financial advice while Helmy Hamza & Partners is legal counsel.

WHAT’S NEXT ON THE IPO FRONT? Omran said that Macro Group is on track to complete its IPO before the end of the month. The cosmeceutical firm, whose shares were listed on the EGX last week under the stock ticker MCRO.CA, has a 23 January deadline to begin trading its shares but can request an extension. Football club Ghazl El Mahalla is preparing to go public next month, while non-bank financial services outfit Ebtikar has also signaled it is looking to IPO. Our friends at the parent company of healthy foods brand Abu Auf are looking to offer as much as 49% of their company for sale in a transaction that could take place in 2Q.

What about military-owned companies? Senior officials including Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly have recently noted the Sisi administration’s plans to sell stakes in a number of military-owned companies. Bottled drinks firm Safi and Wataniya Petroleum could both sell shares to strategic investors ahead of possible IPOs — they’re two of 10 military-owned firms the Sovereign Fund of Egypt is lining up to attract private capital. Separately, our friends at the SFE are guiding high-level talks on plans to sell stakes in three Siemens-built power plants in a process that could also involve a mix of sales to anchor investors as well as future offerings via public markets.

DEBT WATCH

More green debt coming in 1H2022?

We could see a USD 400 mn corporate green bond issuance in the first half of 2022, Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) head Mohamed Omran told Bloomberg Asharq yesterday (watch, runtime: 9:13). The green bond issuance will be used to finance renewable energy projects and could be cross-listed on the EGX and the German or Luxembourg bourses, Omran said, without disclosing the name of the issuer.

This follows Egypt’s first (and so far, only) corporate green bond issuance last year, when CIB sold USD 100 mn of the climate-linked securities to our friends at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the proceeds of which were earmarked to finance green buildings.

More securitized offerings in the pipeline: About EGP 2.5-3.5 bn worth of securitized bonds from three companies could be issued in the first quarter, Omran said, adding that he expects securitizations to increase 15-20% y-o-y in 2022 amid increased appetite from the real estate sector. A total of 19 securitized bond issuances with a combined value of EGP 15.8 bn went to market last year, by our count, while this year has already seen a total of EGP 2.7 bn from issuers including GB Lease, CI Capital’s leasing arm Corplease, and Premium Card.

Proposals to allow companies to securitize future cashflows will encourage more companies to tap the securitization market, Omran said, adding that the draft amendments to the Capital Markets Act to make that type of offering possible are still awaiting parliamentary approval.

In the pipeline: Al Oula is looking to issue EGP 900 mn in securitized bonds in 1H2022, and the Financial Regulatory Authority has okayed issuances by Cairo Housing and Development and its subsidiaries worth a combined EGP 336 mn. Premium Card is also looking to tap the securitized bond market again this year with a two-tranche, EGP 500 mn issuance.

IN OTHER DEBT NEWS-

Are we going to see a revival of our Samurai bond plans? Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and Japan’s ambassador in Cairo discussed potentially issuing foreign currency bonds in Japan as part of Egypt’s debt diversification strategy, according to a ministry statement (pdf). The statement does not provide further details on the potential plans.

Sound familiar? Longtime Enterprise readers will remember that the government had been mulling selling JPY-denominated bonds back in 2019. The ministry had also been looking at RMB-denominated Panda bonds at around the same time, but Maait said in late 2020 that the planned sales were being pushed until at least FY2021-2022 because of complications caused by covid-19. Marketing foreign bonds in Asian markets requires more complicated clearance procedures such as new ratings assessments by Asian ratings agencies.

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INVESTMENT WATCH

Careem to increase investment in Egypt

Careem plans to triple its investment in Egypt in 2022, Haitham Essam, head of the company’s Egypt business, told Ahram Online. The ride-hailing company wants to have deployed USD 11 mn in its local operations by the end of the year, up from USD 3.6 mn at the end of 3Q2021, he said.

Planned expansion: Careem, a subsidiary of US ride-hailing giant Uber, is planning to branch out into new sectors, following its parent into food delivery and courier services as well as digital payments. It’s unclear from Essam’s interview with the state-owned newspaper how much the company plans to spend on these new ventures versus expanding its existing ride-hailing business.

DEBT WATCH

Egypt takes out USD 10.3 bn of development loans in 2021

Egypt borrowed USD 10.3 bn from bilateral and multilateral lenders in 2021, according to the International Cooperation Ministry’s annual report (pdf) published yesterday. Most of the funding — USD 8.7 bn — went to the public sector, while the remaining USD 1.6 bn went to private-sector initiatives.

The key public sector financing agreements: By far the biggest chunk of funding to the public sector came in the form of a USD 2 bn loan under a framework agreement between Egypt, the French government and the French Development Agency (AFD). The second-largest financing agreement was a USD 1.4 bn facility from the International Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) for basic commodities imports including wheat and other foods, followed by a USD 962 mn loan, also from the ITFC, for the import of petroleum products and more basic commodities.

The breakdown:

  • Budget support received loans of USD 1.6 bn, including: USD 360 mn apiece from the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to support the post-covid recovery; USD 582 mn from the World Bank and AFD for the universal health ins. scheme: and USD 330 mn from Japan and the African Development Bank (AfDB) for electricity sector reforms.
  • Agriculture, supply and irrigation received USD 1.6 bn in grants and loans, largely accounted for by the IFTC loan for food imports.
  • Transport received USD 1.1 bn in loans, including USD 518 mn from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the Cairo Line 1 and Alexandria metro projects, and the remainder from the World Bank, AfDB, and Austria for other railway upgrades.
  • Energy projects (including renewables) came next with USD 1 bn, the bulk of which is accounted for by the IFTC petroleum imports loan.
  • The environment, housing, and education were also highlighted as key sectors for development finance in the report, receiving USD 230 mn, USD 169 mn, and USD 134 mn respectively.

The biggest contributors to private sector financing were the EBRD at USD 527 mn, the UK’s CDC Group at USD 420 mn, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) at USD 248 mn.

STARTUP WATCH

E-commerce platform ExpandCart raises USD 2.7 mn in a pre-series B bridge round

Egyptian e-commerce platform ExpandCart raised USD 2.7 mn in a pre-series B bridge funding round led by East Asian accelerator Betatron, with follow-on investments from Sawari Ventures and Kuwait’s Agility Ventures, according to an emailed statement (pdf). The new funding round will be used to fuel growth in ExpandCart’s current markets (Egypt, KSA, UAE, and Kuwait), maximize research and development, and build new products to help the startup reach its target of netting 1 mn merchants on its platform within the next three years, up from a current 25k.

About the company: Founded in 2013, it’s an e-commerce platform that allows merchants to create and manage online shops, streamlining their marketing, sales, store management and website design. The platform was the only African startup to be accepted into Betatron’s accelerator program in 2019, scoring an investment of USD 150k, before raising USD 2.5 mn in a series A round in 2020.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Orascom Construction adds USD 785 mn to its backlog in 4Q2021

Our friends at Orascom Construction saw total new awards rise 22% y-o-y in 2021 to hit USD 3.5 bn, the company said in a statement (pdf). The firm added new awards worth USD 785 mn to its backlog in 4Q2021, the statement added. Projects in the MENA region — including transportation, water and power projects in Egypt — accounted for 55% of new awards in the last quarter of the year, while the remaining 45% were US projects, mainly in the commercial sector. The company’s consolidated backlog hit USD 6.1 bn at the end of 2021, rising slightly above the USD 6 bn record set in September 2021.

MOVES

SODIC announces new board + more from IBM, Nestlé, Capiter and Silicon Badia

SODIC gets a new board of directors after Aldar / ADQ acquisition: SODIC shareholders have elected the company’s new board of directors at an extraordinary general meeting on Sunday, according to an EGX disclosure (pdf). The formation of the new board comes after an Emirati consortium of real estate giant Aldar Properties and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ in December acquired 85.5% of SODIC in an all-cash, EGP 6.1 bn transaction.

Aldar now has five representatives on the board: Sitting at the table are Aldar’s Group CEO Talal Shaffique Abdullah Al Dhiyebi (LinkedIn), CEO Jonathan Emery (LinkedIn), Executive Director Sana Khater (LinkedIn), Executive Director of Investments and Partnerships David Dudley (LinkedIn), and Executive Director of Stakeholder Management Fahad Abdulla Al Mahmood (LinkedIn). ADQ’s Gamma Forge has two spots on the board, with Omar Mohammed Mehanna and Amer Al Ameri as Gamma’s representatives.

Our friend Magued Sherif (LinkedIn), SODIC’s CEO, will remain a member of the board. Rounding out the board as independent directors are non-executive chairman Osama Saleh and Masar Chairwoman and CEO — and former investment minister — Dalia Khorshed (LinkedIn).


IN OTHER MOVES-

Nestlé has appointed Yasser Abdul Malak (LinkedIn) as chairman and CEO for the MENA region, succeeding Remy Ejel, the company announced in a release. Abdul Malak was most recently the FMCG giant’s Turkey CEO, and previously served as CEO for Nestlé’s North East Africa Region based in Egypt.

IBM Egypt has appointed Marwa Abbas (LinkedIn) as general manager, according to a press release (pdf). She succeeds Wael Abdoush, who has now taken on the role of general manager for IBM Gulf, Levant and Pakistan.

Cairo-based e-commerce startup Capiter has appointed Simon Comina (LinkedIn) its chief financial officer, according to a statement (pdf). Comina was most recently CFO and executive board member of Dubai-based property site Property Finder, having previously headed up UK asset management firm Schroders’ MENA and private equity divisions.

Swvl named W. Steve Albrecht (bio) to chair its audit committee last month, according to a statement (pdf). Albrecht is currently the Andersen Alumni Professor at the Marriott School of Management of Brigham Young University and was the former president of the American Accounting Association. He has served as a director of five public companies and seven private companies.

Former Flat6Labs managing partner Marie Therese Fam (LinkedIn) has been appointed by Silicon Badia as a partner in its MENA unit, it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

It was a quiet night on the airwaves last night, with covid-19 and yesterday’s attack at Abu Dhabi Airport getting most of the attention. El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 5:54) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 2:02) covered the events in Abu Dhabi, where three people were killed and six injured in an attack at the airport by Yemen’s Houthi group. Emirati Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan condemned the Houthi attack as an act of terror in a statement out late last night.

On the covid front, presidential health advisor Mohamed Awad Taj El Din attributed the recent rise in cases to the omicron variant in an interview on Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 9:31).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It’s another light morning in the pages of the foreign press: The sole piece of note comes to us from Deutsche Welle, which takes a look at our ambitions to host the 2036 Olympics. The piece is anchored by an interview with Youth and Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhy.

COVID WATCH

Rameda to bring Merck anti-covid pill to Egypt this quarter

Rameda to launch generic form of Merck’s covid pill: Rameda Pharma will begin selling its own generic version of Merck’s oral antiviral covid-19 med, Molnupiravir Rameda, before the end of 1Q2022, the company announced in an EGX disclosure (pdf). The company has begun manufacturing the pill after receiving authorization from the EDA, the national meds regulator. Molnupiravir Rameda will retail at EGP 625 per 40 capsules with an initial dose of 200 mg, with an eye to launch other, stronger versions of the pill “in due course,” the company said.

A total of five Egyptian companies are lining up to produce new covid meds and are waiting on the approval from the EDA, Health Ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said on Salat Tahrir yesterday (watch, runtime: 1:03:31).

The Health Ministry reported 1,232 new covid-19 infections yesterday, up from 1,197 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 401,308 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 31 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 22,179.

PLANET FINANCE

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Low-income countries are in peril over debt, World Bank warns: Developing countries are facing a 45% surge in debt repayments this year compared to 2020, as pandemic-era borrowing comes home to roost, the World Bank said in its latest semi-annual economic outlook. A group of 74 low-income countries will see repayments surge to around USD 35 bn this year, leaving nations including Sri Lanka, Ghana, El Salvador and Tunisia at risk of default, investors told the Financial Times. A covid-era debt relief program launched by the G20 group of major economies came to a close at the end of 2021, meaning 42 countries must resume paying the USD 12.7 bn that was deferred under the scheme.

About 60% of the countries are at risk of needing to restructure their debts, according to the World Bank, which called for renewed efforts to relieve the developing world’s debt burden. The spike in debt servicing costs has come at the worst possible time, the bank added, with developing countries facing an increasingly constrained fiscal space as major economies look to tighten policy to tackle inflation.

China’s economy registered its highest growth rate since 2011 last year, with GDP expanding at an 8.1% clip, according to government data released yesterday. The full-year figure comes despite growth hitting a one-year-and-a-half low in 4Q2021, recording 4%.

Up

EGX30

11,859

+0.2% (YTD: -0.8%)

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

12,166

+0.5% (YTD: +7.8%)

Down

ADX

8,413

-0.1% (YTD: -0.9%)

Down

DFM

3,179

-0.7% (YTD: -0.5%)

Up

S&P 500

4,663

+0.1% (YTD: -2.2%)

Up

FTSE 100

7,611

+0.9% (YTD: +3.1%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 86.53

+0.6%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 4.25

-0.3%

Up

Gold

USD 1,818.90

+0.1%

Down

BTC

USD 41,723

-3.0% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 701 mn (40.6% below the 90-day average). Regional investors were net sellers. The index is down 0.8% YTD.

In the green: Rameda (+5.5%), Raya Holding (+4.3%) and Speed Medical (+3.3%).

In the red: MM Group (-3.2%), Cleopatra Hospital (-2.0%) and EFG Hermes (-1.8%).

greenEconomy

Where tires go to die: A few years back, the village of Mit El Haroun in Gharbia drew attention among international journalists (see reports: here, here and here) for being a hub for tire recycling in the Delta region. Workers receive used tires from across the country and recycle them, fashioning the material into new items or shredding it for use in a number of industrial processes. It’s a rudimentary waste management system by international standards, but it’s a waste management system nonetheless.

Tires are a major global waste problem that poses threats to both the environment and public health in countries that lack efficient recycling systems and regulators with the muscle to clamp down on harmful disposal. The use of synthetic rubber makes them non-biodegradable and the cocktail of toxic chemicals added to improve durability are an ecological hazard, leaking into the soil at landfill sites and spewing into the air when burned. It is estimated that the world produces some 1 bn waste tires every single year, which not only pollute the land, but according to one study are responsible for up to 30% of all microplastics found at sea.

Only a small percentage are recycled, with one study claiming that just 100 mn end up being reused for other purposes. The vast majority end up being dumped: one piece of research estimated that around 75% of waste tires are thrown in landfills.

Recycling tires isn’t always good for the environment: Tires can be burned to produce low-grade fuel and be used in asphalt via a process known as pyrolysis. This is fine when done by companies possessing the technology to prevent waste and emissions, and in countries with strong environmental regulations. But in developing countries such as Malaysia and India, which has risen to become the world’s largest importer of waste tires, the consequences for the environment and local communities can be deadly.

Egypt has chosen not to emulate the Indian model of becoming one of the world’s dumping grounds for used tires. UN customs data show that the country has imported little to no used tires in recent years after the government classified them as hazardous waste, forbidding importers from bringing them into the country.

And that’s just as well: Like other developing countries Egypt lacks a formal system for collecting and disposing of used tires, and relies on a network of informal tire dealers, small-scale workshops, and a few private factories that have historically clustered in Mit El Haroun but are now located throughout Cairo and Alexandria as well. The unlicensed workshops operating within this informal system lack regulatory oversight to ensure that they’re complying with environmental standards, presenting a major hurdle to the safe disposal of tires, Yasser Mahgoub, vice president of the Environment Ministry’s Waste Management Regulatory Authority, told us.

There are no official statistics on how many waste tires Egypt produces each year or how they are disposed of, leaving researchers to make use of other datasets to gauge the situation on the ground. A 2016 study (pdf) by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) used Capmas data of the number of licensed vehicles in Egypt to estimate that the country would produce 6.9 mn waste tires — equivalent to around 316k tons — in 2015. That figure was projected at the time to continue growing by some 10% every year to keep pace with rising car ownership, putting annual waste volumes on course to rise to some 616k tons, or 13.4 mn tires, by 2022.

This leads to wildly different estimates: A 2015 report (pdf) produced by the Environment Ministry’s National Solid Waste Programme (NSWP) and German development agency GIZ suggested that the country produced 218k tons in 2014, and projected an annual growth rate of 3-5%, putting us on track to consume at least 260k tons by the end of 2021.

Some industry insiders, however, think that figure is higher: A representative at a leading tire manufacturer in Egypt told Enterprise that the total number of waste tires produced each year is likely closer to 20 mn.

There’s also little agreement over how much is recycled: Some estimates claim that only 10% of our used tire supply is recycled or repurposed in some form, while others say that figure is closer to 50%, of which 28% is burned for fuel, 11% re-used or recycled and 5% set ablaze in open-air settings. This estimate is supported by the NSWP report which indicates that almost half of the 218k tons produced in 2014 go through some industrial process, including around 90k tons which were used to produce new rubber goods.

A large bulk of the country’s tire waste comes from tire and auto repair shops, which have agreements with garbage collectors who take scrap tires every month, and sell them to individuals and companies. The IFC estimates that around 22% of all scrap tires produced annually come from tire shops. These middlemen can collect 10k-50k tires every month from tire shops, according to one distributor we spoke to who supplies two factories near Madinet El Salam.

The government is also a major player: Egyptian ministries sell significant amounts of tires in annual auctions and via direct sales to companies, according to the IFC.

A portion of these tires are retreaded and sold on the secondary market at a discount and those that are beyond repair end up at factories and workshops, which partially burn them to salvage the steel wires. The rubber is then either fashioned into new products or shredded into small chips to be sold wholesale or made into new products on-site.

It’s not just the informal sector that’s involved: Manufacturers like Marso Rubber shred their own tires and incorporate these chips into the production of car mats, anti-slip mats for swimming pools, tennis courts, tracks and artificial turf. Samuel Moufid, one of the partners at the firm, told us that his facilities process some 100k tires each year.

A portion is shipped overseas: Egypt exported 2.6 mn kg of waste tires in 2020, and the year before shipped 4.5 mn kg, according to UN data.

There’s also demand from the local cement industry: According to the NSWP report, in 2014 some 19k tons of waste tires went to producing tire-derived fuel (TDF) for cement companies, which is used as an alternative to traditional fuels such as coal or natural gas. Whole and shredded tires are burned in cement kilns, providing a cheaper energy source that is high in caloric value and reduces reliance on fossil fuels, though one that produces similar emissions. Suez Cement CEO Jose Maria Magrina told us that the company currently burns around 2k tons per year. The company would likely use more if it was more widely available as it is of good quality and diverts tires from ending up in landfill, he said. Cemex’s Egypt unit comprises some 2% of the company’s overall fuel usage, the company’s communications chief, Zeinab Hegazy, said.

Cement firms need to apply for a license to use TDF: Companies need to tell the government how much they will use and the volumes of emissions, in the same way they would for any other fuel such as petcoke, Magrina said.

Formalizing entities working in the sector is paramount to overcoming these environmental challenges, according to Mahgoub, who told us that private sector tire manufacturers need to be better integrated into the recycling process.

This dynamic is reflective of the broader waste management woes the country is currently trying to overcome through last year’s new Waste Management Act, which seeks to formalize waste management through a more comprehensive national system. While there is certainly a case to be made for introducing better practices to the industry and gaining a better overview of just how much waste Egypt needs to deal with, it still remains unclear how small-scale workshops will be absorbed into the new national framework. For now, it seems like there are still more than enough tires to go around.


Your top climate stories for the week:

  • SFE eyes renewable energy sub-fund: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt is working to launch a renewable energy sub-fund this year as part of its plan to support the green transition.
  • Apicorp and the Islamic Development Bank have launched a USD 1 bn Infra Initiative which will finance renewable projects in electricity generation and transmission, water, and waste management in APICORP’s ten member countries.
  • New EU rules for green investment could go global: A proposed EU taxonomy could soon become the world’s gold standard for green investment.

CALENDAR

1Q2022: Launch of the Egyptian Commodities Exchange.

1Q2022: Swvl acquisition of Viapool expected to close.

1Q2022: Waste collection startup Bekia plans to expand to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

1Q2022: Rameda Pharma will begin selling its generic version of Merck’s oral antiviral covid-19 med.

Early 2022: Results to be announced for the second round of the state’s gold and precious metals auction.

1H2022: Target date for IDH to close its acquisition of 50% of Islamabad Diagnostic Center.

1H2022: e-Finance’s digital healthcare service platform, eHealth, will launch its services.

1H2022: The government will respond to private companies’ bids to build desalination plants.

1H2022: Egypt’s second corporate green bond issuance expected to be announced.

January: Sovereign Sukuk Act executive regulations expected to be finalized.

January: Tenth of Ramadan dry port tender to be launched.

January: Three-month trial period of ACI for air freight to begin.

9 January – 6 February (Sunday-Sunday): 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon.

Second half of January: Egypt will host the Egyptian-Bahraini Joint Committee.

Second half of January: Regulations for installing EV charging stations will be published.

15-19 January (Saturday-Wednesday): World Art Forum, National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, Cairo.

17-21 January (Monday-Friday): World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, virtual.

17-19 January (Monday-Wednesday): World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi.

18 January (Tuesday): Founder and Principal of Newton International Management Ayman S. Ashour will give a talk titled Exits and Reset Dilemmas at Consoleya.

19 January (Wednesday): EgyptAir will operate an exceptional Casablanca-Cairo flight to bring home Egyptians expats stranded in Morocco following border closures.

20 January (Thursday): Kadmar Shipping’s new line transporting agricultural crops between Alexandria and Russia begins its operations.

20-21 January (Thursday-Friday): South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit Egypt as part of his diplomatic tour of the region.

23 January (Sunday): Deadline for Macro Pharma to IPO on the EGX.

25 January (Tuesday): The IMF will release its World Economic Outlook.

25 January (Tuesday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

25 January (Tuesday): Techne Summit announces awardees of Corporate Innovation Program.

25-26 January (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

27 January (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

30-31 January (Sunday-Monday): Ins. Federation of Egypt medical ins. forum.

End of January: The Egyptian-Romanian business forum will take place with the aim of strengthening joint investment relations.

January-February 2022: Construction work on the Abu Qir metro upgrade will begin.

February: Hassan Allam Construction’s new construction firm established with Russia’s Titan-2 to handle construction work on the Dabaa nuclear power plant begins its operations.

February: Ghazl El Mahalla shares will begin trading on the EGX this month.

February: Suez canal transit fees set to increase 6%, exempting cruise ships and LNG carriers.

Mid-February: End of grace period to comply with new minimum wage for firms who sent in exemption requests.

Mid-February: A Hungarian delegation will arrive in Egypt for talks over a potential investment in an industrial area in the SCZone.

3 February (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

3 February (Thursday): January PMI figures for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE will be released.

4-20 February (Friday-Sunday): 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing.

11 February (Friday): Deadline for Anghami SPAC merger.

11-13 February (Friday-Sunday) FIBA Intercontinental Cup, Cairo.

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

15 February (Tuesday): The Industrial Development Authority’s deadline for receiving offers from companies for licenses to manufacture steel products.

15 February (Tuesday): Orange Ventures’ deadline to receive applications from seed-stage fintech startups.

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

19-21 February (Saturday-Monday): Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry 2022.

21 February (Monday): Hearing at Cairo Economic Court (pdf) on FRA lawsuits filed against Speed Medical.

End of February: Lebanon to receive gas from Egypt via a pipeline crossing Jordan and Syria.

March: Rollout of the government financial management information system (GFMIS), a suite of electronic tools to automate the government’s financial management processes (pdf) that will replace the existing “closed” financial management system.

March: 4Q2021 earnings season.

March: Deadline for the World Health Organization’s intergovernmental negotiating body to meet to discuss binding treaty on future pandemic cooperation.

March: World Cup playoffs.

March: The government hopes to sign a final contract between El Nasr Automotive and a new partner for the local production of electric cars.

March: Target date for Saudi tech firm Brmaja to IPO on the EGX.

March: Egypt to host World Tourism Organization Middle East committee meeting.

9-18 March (Wednesday-Friday): The 55th edition of the Cairo International Fair.

15-16 March (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

24 March (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

28-29 March (Monday-Tuesday): The Egypt International Mining Show (EIMS 2022) will take place virtually.

31 March (Thursday): Deadline for submitting tax returns for individual taxpayers.

31 March (Thursday): Supply Ministry expected to take final decision on bread subsidies by this date.

2 April (Saturday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

3 April (Sunday): Bidding begins on the Industrial Development Authority’s license to manufacture tobacco products.

4 April (Monday): CDC Group will formally change its name to British International Investment.

22-24 April (Friday-Sunday): World Bank-IMF spring meeting, Washington D.C.

24 April (Sunday): Coptic Easter Sunday (holiday for Coptic Christians).

25 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

25 April (Monday): Sinai Liberation Day.

28 April (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Sham El Nessim.

30 April (Saturday): Deadline for submitting corporate tax returns for companies whose financial year ends 31 December.

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2022 earnings season

May: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

1 May (Sunday): Labor Day.

3-4 May (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

5 May (Thursday): National Holiday in observance of Labor Day.

2 May (Monday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

19 May (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

14-15 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

15-18 June (Wednesday-Saturday): St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), St. Petersburg.

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

23 June (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

27 June-3 July (Monday-Sunday): World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

30 June (Thursday): June 30 Revolution Day, national holiday.

End of 2Q2022: The Financial Regulatory Authority’s new Ins. Act should be approved.

End of 1H2022: Emirati industrial company M Glory Holding and the Military Production Ministry will begin the mass production of dual fuel pickup trucks that can run on natural gas.

2H2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

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

July: A law governing ins. for seasonal contractors will come into effect.

1 July (Friday): FY 2022-2023 begins.

8 July (Friday): Arafat Day.

9-13 July (Saturday-Wednesday): Eid Al Adha, national holiday.

26-27 July (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

30 July (Saturday): Islamic New Year.

Late July – 14 August: 2Q2022 earnings season.

18 August (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

September: Egypt will display its first naval exhibition with the title Naval Power.

20-21 September (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

22 September (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

6 October (Thursday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

8 October (Saturday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, national holiday.

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

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

3 November (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

13-14 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

22 December (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

End of 2022: e-Aswaaq’s tourism platform will complete the roll out of its ticketing and online booking portal across Egypt.

January 2023: EGX-listed companies and non-bank lenders will submit ESG reports for the first time.

**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 above between the actual holiday and its observance.

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