Thursday, 3 February 2022

AM — Macro Group wraps up private placement ahead of IPO next week

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Well, friends, we’ve once again made it through another workweek together, and our reward is another flood of news.

THE BIG STORY THIS MORNING here at home? It’s got to be IPOs, where Macro now looks set to pull the trigger next week and senior government officials continue to talk up stake sales and fresh offerings of state-owned companies. We have chapter and verse in this morning’s news well, below.

HAPPENING TODAY- It’s an interest rate day / PMI double-whammy: Analysts participating in our regular rate poll don’t see incoming rate hikes in the US and rising inflation at home as being enough to prompt the Central Bank of Egypt’s monetary policy committee to hike interest rates when it meets this afternoon. Our poll participants tell us they see the policy rate being left unchanged at 8.25% for the next six weeks. Our real interest rate, the highest in the world, puts leaves Egypt well-positioned to withstand the initial phase of the Fed’s tightening cycle while inflation remains easily within the central bank’s target range.

PMIs, meanwhile, will be out at 6:45 CLT this morning. Figures for private sector activity in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar will all be out here today. Egypt’s non-oil business activity has remained in contraction territory for each of the past 13 months, although last month’s reading showed an improvement from the month prior as inflationary pressures began to soften, while an uptick in tourism activity and a sharp rise in exports helped support new business.

Your morning distraction: Dave Letterman now has a Youtube channel full of classic clips from his show.

Yesterday was Groundhog Day, and it’s anybody’s guess when winter might end. One high-profile marmot saw its shadow. The other didn’t. (And as is our annual tradition: Here’s the trailer for the Bill Murray classic, which is now 29 years old…)

ALSO- FOOTBALL…

We face hosts Cameroon in the last Afcon semi-final tonight. Cameroon are tough opponents — they’re the second most successful team in the history of AFCON, after the Pharaohs. But manager Carlos Queiroz’s history says he is up for the challenge, with plenty of past experiences bringing teams to glory, France24 notes. Here’s hoping the Pharaohs are no exception.

Kick off: 9:00pm CLT.

The victors of tonight’s match will face Senegal, who last night trumped Burkina Faso, scoring three goals in the last 20 minutes of the game to Burkina Faso’s one consolation goal near the very end. Sadio Mane claimed Senegal’s final goal — he’ll now be gearing up to face fellow Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah on the pitch tonight.

EDITOR’S NOTE- This story was corrected on 3 February, 2022 to reflect that Burkina Faso, not Senegal, scored one goal near the end of the match. Sadio Mane’s nationality was also corrected. 

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

This is not what de-escalation looks like: US President Joe Biden has ordered nearly 3k troops to Poland and Romania NATO’s eastern territories as tensions continue to rise over Ukraine. The troops will join some 8.5k US personnel deployed last week — while the 100k soldiers Russian President Vladimir Putin has stationed on the border with Ukraine have received no orders to budge. The crisis is still eliciting breathless coverage from all corners of the international press, from Reuters to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the New York Times, and the Associated Press.

Biden is knocking on doors in the search to replace Russian natgas — and that could include our own: The US has approached natural gas producers including Egypt to ask whether they could increase natural gas output to Europe should Russia cut off supplies, Bloomberg reports. Egypt’s Oil Ministry declined to comment when Enterprise asked whether we are in fact in talks with the US.

Could we help if we wanted to? Our LNG exports are more or less maxed out, according to S&P Global. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla also said at the end of December that LNG capacity has been reached, adding that exports to Europe rose dramatically over the course of last year and “Egyptian gas played a role in securing Europe’s energy needs” amid the supply squeeze.

ALSO- Competition has begun in China at the Winter Olympics, though the opening ceremony won’t take place until tomorrow.

enterprise

IPO WATCH

Macro Group’s IPO has arrived

THE BIG STORY TODAY- Is Macro Group’s IPO upon us? Macro Group Pharma wrapped up the private placement portion of its IPO yesterday and could make its EGX debut next week after the retail subscription period ends, Bloomberg Asharq reports. Appetite from institutional investors was heavy, with the news outlet suggesting that the private placement was 1.8x oversubscribed. The offering to institutions covers 95% of the c. 264.5 mn shares the company putting up for grabs in the IPO.

Shareholders are offering 45.8% of the company for sale, with EFG Hermes pricing the offering at EGP 4.85 to EGP 5.55 per share, according to Macro’s price range release (pdf) released last week. The Financial Regulatory Authority also gave the company the greenlight last week to publish its public subscription notice.

When should shares start trading? Macro said last week that it expects the first day of trading to be on or around 10 February.

Macro is a huge player in its segment, with a more than 23% share of the cosmeceutical market in 2020 and a portfolio of 112 shop-keeping units (or SKUs) and generates sales by targeting physicians and pharmacies nationwide. Its in-house R&D capability see it with a pipeline of “more than 60 SKUs across a variety of high-growth, high-margin cosmeceutical and nutraceutical therapeutic areas” that it expects to launch in the coming years.

Financials: Macro turned in a top line of EGP 417 mn in 9M2021 (up 37% year-on-year) and EBITDA of EGP 172 mn (+30% y-o-y) in the same period.

ADVISORS: Our friends at EFG Hermes are quarterbacking the transaction as sole global coordinator. EFG Hermes and Renaissance Capital are acting as joint bookrunners, while White & Case is counsel to the issuer. Dechert and Zaki Hashem & Partners are counsel to the joint bookrunners, while PwC has been appointed external auditor. Inktank is investor relations advisor.

IPO WATCH

10 state share sales this year?

Could we see 10 EGX sales from state companies this year? The Madbouly government wants to sell shares in up to 10 state-owned companies on the EGX this year, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait told Bloomberg Asharq.

The government has been stepping up its messaging on privatization as of late, with a number of cabinet ministers doing high-profile interviews to underline the government’s commitment to increasing private ownership in state-owned enterprises. Maait earlier this week pledged to restart the privatization program in March, a few days after Minister Hala El Said said that the government could sell stakes every month or two. Maait spoke after Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the government is looking to list “as many state companies as possible” on the EGX in 2022.

The e-Finance effect: Listing momentum has been building ever since the successful IPO of state fintech firm e-Finance and a secondary stake sale by Abu Qir Fertilizers toward the end of last year.

First up: Ghazl El Mahalla FC is set to offer a 67.5% stake in its IPO in early February, which is expected to raise a total of EGP 135 mn after attracting EGP 37 mn from institutional investors during the private placement.

We could also be seeing secondary offerings / IPOs from… Heliopolis Housing and Development could finally go ahead with its secondary offering by the middle of 2022, while state fertilizer producer Mopco is also in the chute to tap the EGX before the end of the current fiscal year, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik said in November. Meanwhile, the hotly-anticipated IPO of Banque du Caire could also be back on after it was postponed due to the pandemic, Tawfik said. Misr Ins. Holding could also pull the trigger on the IPO of its Misr Life Ins. subsidiary, which it said in November would happen during the second half of this year.

TRANSPORT

AFC wants to invest USD 250 mn in monorail, high-speed rail projects

Multilateral lender Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) is looking to partially bankroll our monorail and high-speed train projects with a USD 250 mn facility, Al Mal quoted Sameh Shenouda, AFC’s executive director and CIO as saying. The Transport Ministry is currently looking into AFC’s proposal, but the two sides have not begun formal discussions yet, said Shenouda, adding that the loan could also be directed to other transport projects.

The AFC expects to invest USD 500-600 mn in Egypt this year, and is currently looking into funding four or five projects, Shenouda reportedly told Al Mal.

Among them is the Abu Tartour phosphate plant: The AFC is in talks with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to collaborate on a joint USD 710 mn loan for the project, according to Shenouda. The AFC and Afreximbank plan to stump up USD 200-300 mn each, and the rest would come from other financing sources, he said, without identifying them.

Background: The AFC is a pan-African multilateral lender focused on infrastructure. Owned by African governments and banks, it has channeled more than USD 10 bn into projects in 35 countries since its founding in 2007. Egypt formally became a member of the AFC in September, potentially unlocking some USD 1 bn in investments.

The government has been in talks with the financial institution on several projects, including the mooted rail finance, covid-19 vaccine manufacturing, and renewable energy facilities, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in September.


The light railway linking El Salam City to 10th of Ramadan City will open to the public in March, Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir said. The new 19-stop transit system will run via the new administrative capital and is expected to carry some 500k passengers a day.

Want to know more about the LRT line? We’ve got you covered with our in-depth project profile.

DEBT WATCH

FRA loosens license requirements for credit rating agencies

The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has just made it easier for credit rating companies to get operating licenses in Egypt. The FRA scrapped a requirement for credit rating agencies to be at least 10% owned by international firms in a move meant to increase the number of local credit-rating firms and boost our non-banking financial sector, the regulator said yesterday in a statement (pdf).

At least one Egyptian credit rating agency is expected to make its debut in 2022, FRA Deputy Chairman Islam Azzam said in an interview with Bloomberg Asharq (watch, runtime: 0:56). An unidentified company has already been in talks with the regulator for the past few months, and Azzam expects it to launch soon after the announcement of the new changes — though it has not submitted its registration documents yet, he said.

Egypt has only one local credit rating agency right now: MERIS (Middle East Rating & Investors Service) is a joint venture between Moody’s and Finance and Banking Consultants International (FinBi), and provides ratings for financial institutions, corporate issuers, and structured finance transactions.

And MERIS can’t do it all alone: More ratings agencies are needed to handle the growing popularity of local asset-backed securities, Assam said (watch, runtime: 2:01). Some EGP 7.2 bn worth of securitized bonds have already been issued this year and FRA head Mohamed Omran predicted another EGP 2.5-3.5 bn would be taken to market before the end of 1Q.

International shareholders may no longer be required, but international standards are: The new credit companies will be locally funded, but they will be required to follow internationally-recognized standards and regulations, Azzam said.

ECONOMY

Record quarter for exports (and imports)

Egypt’s balance of payments recorded an overall surplus of USD 311.4 mn in 1Q2021-22 (which ended in September 2021), compared to a deficit of USD 69.2 mn during 1Q2020-21 (ending September 2020), thanks to strong tourism, Suez Canal, and remittances receipts. “This improvement proved the ability of the Egyptian economy to withstand the negative effects of the covid-19 pandemic facing the global economy,” the central bank said in its latest quarterly balance of payments report (pdf) yesterday.

What’s the balance of payments? You can think of it as the delta between all the money that comes into the country (through tourism, exports, Suez Canal revenues, FDI, remittances, etc) and all the money we send out (largely thanks to imports of everything from food to fuel).

Egypt’s current account deficit continued to increase in 1Q2021-22 on the back of higher import costs. The deficit increased by 43% to USD 4 bn during the quarter versus USD 2.8 bn a year ago as the amount spent on non-oil imports increased due to greater imports of medical supplies to combat covid-19 and the rising cost of wheat and raw production materials, according to the CBE. Higher oil prices were also a factor.

Quarter on quarter, there was a fair bit of good news:

  • Exports had their best quarter in at least 18 years, with export revenues coming in at USD 8.9 bn during the three-month period.
  • Tourism revenues jumped hit USD 2.8 bn (+60% from 4Q2020-21 and up 250% from the same quarter the previous year)
  • Suez Canal + remittance revenues were both up

That said, we spent more on imports. They came in at USD 19.9 bn, up 34% from the same quarter a year ago (when activity was depressed thanks to the pandemic), but up only fractionally from USD 19.6 bn spent the previous quarter. You can thank global oil prices as well as imports of wheat, vaccines and other medical products for pushing the import bill up.

FDI inflows are yet to recover fully from the covid-induced downturn, rising 4% to USD 1.7 bn from a year ago. Investment in the non-oil sector rose almost 30% but the oil sector — which is responsible for almost half of Egypt’s FDI — saw net outflows of USD 489 mn.


ON A RELATED NOTE-

Petroleum exports rose 84.3% in 2021, posting USD 12.9 bn, compared to USD 7 bn in 2020, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told Reuters. This came on the back of a five-fold increase in our LNG and natural gas exports, which reached USD 3.9 bn, as well as a 32% rise in crude oil exports to USD 3.3 bn. The restarting of the Damietta LNG plant helped boost our exports, with Egypt’s LNG terminals running at full capacity by December. Petroleum exports hit USD 5 bn in the fourth quarter of the calendar year alone, calculating based on official data for January-September.

Total export revenues reached a record high of USD 45.2 bn last year, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said during a press conference, according to a cabinet statement. That would mean that exports recorded USD 20 bn in the fourth quarter alone, based on official data for the first nine months of the year. The full-year figure marks an 80% increase on 2020, when total exports hit USD 25 bn, according to official data.

And FinMin could seek to boost exports further by tweaking the subsidy program: The Finance Ministry is considering reducing to 8% the current 15% haircut exporters take to get overdue subsidy payments in a single lump sum, Al Borsa quoted Finance Minister Mohamed Maait as saying in a meeting of industry heads.

SUEZ CANAL

Suez Canal Authority to set up EGP 2 bn investment fund

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) will establish a EGP 2 bn fund in March to finance its economic activities, SCA head Osama Rabie told Bloomberg Asharq on Tuesday. The fund was signed off on by the cabinet last week.

Financing development: The money would “contribute to the sustainable economic development” of the SCA by supporting its “economic and investment activities,” according to a cabinet statement. This includes setting up companies, and making investments in securities and fixed and movable assets.

A rainy day fund: The money will also be used to backstop the authority’s finances during emergencies.

Transit fees to push revenues to new record highs: The 6% fee hike introduced on Tuesday will increase canal revenues by more than USD 400 mn above the authority’s target, Rabie said. The SCA said last month that it expects revenues to rise 11% to USD 7 bn this year, which now may be surpassed due to the fee increase applied to all ships except LNG carriers and cruise liners.

What’s next: The legal amendments allowing the creation of the fund will head to the House of Representatives for discussion.

M&A WATCH

Levari acquires Kassim in rare legal merger

Cairo-based law firm Levari is acquiring Jordan-based M&A-focused law firm Kassim Legal, in a merger that sees Levari expand its footprint to Jordan and the US, the company announced in a press release (pdf). Levari did not disclose the value, mechanism or current status of the acquisition, and hadn’t responded to our request for comment as of dispatch time.

The merger makes Levari the only MENA firm with a presence in both the UK and the US, and “one of the few regional firms in MENA with US-specific tax, corporate and venture fund expertise,” the release says. Kassim has a Washington office and specializes in US tax and M&A transactions.

This is Levari’s second acquisition in the past five years, according to the release, with the company acquiring Dubai-based law firm Al Mashreq International Advocates in 2018. With the acquisition of Kassim, Levari now has offices in London, Dubai, Washington DC, and Amman.

M&A WATCH

Lighthouse to acquire two schools in Cairo this year

Lighthouse to buy two schools this year: State-backed education investment platform Lighthouse Education is looking to put the entirety of its first close of EGP 560 mn towards acquiring two schools in Cairo this year, Deputy Chairman Mohamed El Sherif confirmed to Enterprise, following a report from Al Mal. The transactions are still being negotiated, he said, without disclosing which schools are involved in the talks.

This lines up with what El Sherif told us last year about the platform aiming to acquire majority stakes in at least two of four shortlisted K12 private schools before the end of 2021. The platform is hoped to eventually raise commitments of EGP 1.75 bn.

Lighthouse reached its first close in November, beating its EGP 500 mn target. State-owned organizations committed EGP 375 mn, while Saudi’s Al Rajhi Investment Holding Company (Rajhi-Invest) contributed EGP 75 mn.

Lighthouse was launched in July to channel investment into K12 private schools. The platform plans to invest in 10-12 schools, focusing initially on Cairo and Giza before turning its attention to other areas of the country such as Alexandria, Beni Suef, Assiut, Port Said, Gharbia, and Qalyubia. The platform is aiming to reach its second close before the end of 2022 and hopes to eventually increase its capital to EGP 1.75 bn.

STARTUP WATCH

Cairo Angels makes second investment in Nawah Scientific

Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund (CASF) has made a second investment in scientific research startup Nawah Scientific, it announced in a statement (pdf) this week, without disclosing the ticket size. Cairo Angels previously invested in Nawah in its USD 1 mn pre-series A round that closed last year. The round brought the Nawah’s total investment to USD 2 mn, having raised USD 1 mn in pre-series A funding in 2018.

About the company: Founded in 2015, Nawah Scientific provides lab testing services to scientific researchers. This is particularly important in a country like Egypt, where universities often don’t have the range of lab facilities and equipment required by researchers.

Expansion plans: “This round of fundraising is geared towards helping the startup maintain its compelling growth and onboarding new projects,” the statement said.

** We recently chatted to Nawah founder Omar Shoukry about his business, his personal interests, and of course, his morning routine.

MOVES

Siemens Energy has appointed Layla El Hares (LinkedIn) as its managing director for Egypt, the company announced in a press release (pdf). El Hares has over two decades of international experience in the energy sector, most recently as general manager for development in the East Mediterranean and asset manager for Egypt at Royal Dutch Shell.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Our record 2021 export revenues dominated coverage on the airwaves last night. The USD 45.2 bn in export revenues — up 80% y-o-y — came on the back of a 56% rise in sales to the European Union and a 51% y-o-y increase exports the United States, head of the Egyptian Commercial Services Yehia El Wathiq Bellah said in a phone-in with Al Hayah Al Youm’s Mohamed Sherdy (watch, runtime: 24:32). Meanwhile, Misr Technology Services’ Khaled Nassef phoned in to Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan (watch, runtime: 13:57) to discuss the role of digital customs system Nafeza in helping monitor and boost the quality of cross-border trade. We have more on the story in today’s Economy section, above.

Some 13k dual-fuel cars have been delivered as part of the natgas transition scheme as of the end of January, the spokesperson for the Finance Ministry’s Automobile Financing Fund said in an interview with Al Hayah Al Youm last night (watch, runtime: 8:02). The government has received 100k requests for the natgas-run car swap, he added, but only 37k have so far been eligible. The scheme is expected to see 250k old cars swapped out with natgas-run cars by the end of 2023.

Also getting airtime: Price cuts to state-administered covid-19 tests were the subject of a phone-in from Health Ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar to Yahduth Fi Misr (watch, runtime: 3:11). Masaa DMC also took note of the discounts (watch, runtime: 0:55).

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

EFG Hermes’ subsidiaries PayTabs and valU have partnered with X2C online auction and e-commerce platform Mazadat to give its customers access to valU’s buy-now-pay-later services and PayTabs’s online payment gateway, according to a joint press release (pdf)..

NBK Egypt shareholders sold 20.7 mn shares back to the bank at EGP 20 per share yesterday, ahead of its delisting from the EGX, according to a bourse statement. Financial advisor Prime Capital undertook the valuation on the shares.

COVID WATCH

A break from the record-breaking tallies + European support for vaccine manufacturing, exports?

Our record-breaking streak is over — for now: The Health Ministry reported 2,278 new covid-19 infections yesterday, down marginally from 2,291 the day before. Egypt has now disclosed a total of 430,480 confirmed cases of covid-19. The ministry also reported 52 new deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 22,735.

The vaccine tally: 26,562,740 people are now fully vaccinated against the virus, while some 11 mn people have received only their first shots and 624,109 people have received booster shots.

Cooperation with Europe to manufacture vaccines? An EU delegation met with Egyptian foreign ministry and health officials on Tuesday to discuss ways to help Egypt locally manufacture covid-19 vaccines for domestic use and export to Africa, according to a ministry statement.

PLANET FINANCE

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EARNINGS WATCH- Weak Q4 drags Meta back to reality: Shares in Facebook’s parent company plummeted more than 20% in after-hours trading, on the back of weak fourth-quarter financials (pdf) that saw its earnings drop 8% y-o-y for the quarter to hit USD 10.3 bn. The company warned investors that it expected the first quarter of 2022 to be equally rough going, saying revenues would fail to meet expectations due to “increasing competition,” the Financial Times reports. If shares open at the same levels this morning, Meta would see more than USD 200 bn wiped off its value. Meanwhile, Amazon is up to report its 4Q financials today.

M3lesh, Nasdaq dip-buyers: The weak results put an end to the Nasdaq’s biggest four-day rally since November 2020, Bloomberg reports, which had seen the index gain 8% since Thursday. Dip-buyers rushed into the Nasdaq in recent days as they sought gains following a rocky January for its high-value tech stocks ahead of anticipated Fed tightening.

Up

EGX30

11,692

+0.8% (YTD: -2.2%)

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

12,193

-0.8% (YTD: +8.1%)

Up

ADX

8,735

+0.2% (YTD: +2.9%)

Up

DFM

3,174

+0.1% (YTD: -0.7%)

Up

S&P 500

4,589

+0.9% (YTD: -3.7%)

Up

FTSE 100

7,583

+0.6% (YTD: +2.7%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 89.47

+0.4%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 5.41

-1.7%

Down

Gold

USD 1,808

-0.1%

Down

BTC

USD 36,903

-5.0% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.8% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 955 mn (12.2% below the 90-day average). Regional investors were net buyers. The index is down 2.2% YTD.

In the green: GB Auto (+8.7%), Credit Agricole (+5.8%) and Fawry (+5.7%).

In the red: Abu Qir Fertilizers (-1.5%), Madinet Nasr Housing (-0.7%) and Mopco (-0.7%).

It’s a blood-red kind of morning in global markets. Major Asian benchmarks are largely in the red (Seoul’s Kospi is bucking the trends) and futures suggest European markets and Wall Street could follow suit later today,.

MY MORNING ROUTINE

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Haitham Sadek, general manager and managing director at Danone North East Africa: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Haitham Sadek (LinkedIn), general manager and managing director at Danone North East Africa. Edited excerpts from our conversation follow:

My name is Haitham Sadek: I am an Egyptian engineer, Cairo University graduate, husband, and father of two daughters and two sons aged between 21 to 5 and a half. I joined Danone in January 2020 as managing director of the company’s North East Africa division

My workday usually runs from 8am to 6-7pm, and I tend to wake up at 6-6:30 am, which doesn’t quite make me an early bird by the standards in the US, where I used to live. I try to dedicate one hour in the morning to something called SAVERS, a routine that I learned from a book called The Miracle Morning. SAVERS is a six-step process that stands for silence, affirmation, visualization, exercise, reading and scribing. It’s extremely helpful and I do my best to make it a part of my routine though I can’t say that I’m religious about it. After that, I have breakfast with my family before heading to work.

My day-to-day routine is extremely busy: Danone is a big business, we have around 3k people working for us, all 100% Egyptian — something that I’m very proud of. I oversee the farm, the plants in Obour, and over 20 distribution centers around the country. There are lots of meetings involved, as you can imagine.

We have what we call a dual project, that is, we have social objectives as well as commercial targets, and we get measured for both. For example, we have milk collection centers where we work with 8k farmers, most of whom are women. We have another program for young entrepreneurs to distribute our products to rural areas.

I don’t think there is one constant in my day, except I don’t think a day goes by without talking to people, even if it’s not face-to-face, which is something I really enjoy. And on a personal level, I don’t think a day goes by without looking at my investment portfolio. Some people think it’s funny, but trading is a way for me to relax.

I used to spend more time talking to people face-to-face before covid. I liked to gather people and have a big town hall. We couldn’t gather the 3k people together during covid, so we got people together in small teams and I think we managed the situation quite well. This adjustment of our daily routines will be ongoing as we adapt to the new reality.

After I finish work, I dedicate time to my hobby, which most of the time is investment. I like to trade in the American stock market, so that’s when the fun starts.

Family is a big priority for me: I always do at least one thing with my kids each day, which keeps us connected. And I try to stay healthy as well, so I try to do at least half an hour of activity every day, even if I’m not very consistent.

I love to read books about investment, and personal and professional development during my spare time. Go check out this book by former GE CEO Jack Welch. It’s a great book. For personal development, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is great, and for investment, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.

I stay focused and organized by always having a plan. It sounds boring, but I start with a yearly plan that I divide into quarters, and I try to move that into daily habits. You really have to cut it down into small pieces and take baby steps to achieve it. That’s what I did to get better at running, which I used to hate. I made a plan and broke it down into daily and weekly habits and after six months, I was able to run 25k over four weekends.

I think it’s really important to grow up having a true belief that everything is possible. I think my dad was the first person to give me this piece of advice, but I don’t think that belief comes from just one person telling you that, it needs repetition from when you are very young. Sometimes, we don’t know how, but if you believe that you can, you will find a way. It makes you look at the world in a different way.

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.

1Q2022: Pharos Energy’s sale of 55% stake in El Fayum, Beni Suef concessions to IPR Energy Group subsidiary IPR Lake Qarun expected to close.

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.

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.

27 January-7 February (Thursday-Monday): Cairo International Book Fair, Egypt International Exhibition Center.

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): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

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.

3 February (Thursday): Deadline to send in concept notes for Cultural Property Agreement Implementation projects to the US Embassy in Cairo.

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.

14-19 February (Monday- Saturday): An art exhibition created by marginalized children will be held at Townhouse Gallery. The event is organized by the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, AlexBank, Townhouse Gallery, Al Ismaelia for Real Estate Investment, and Ubuntu Art Gallery.

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.

22 February (Tuesday): The Egyptian National Railway is holding a forum to gauge public interest in its plans to delegate the management and operations of freight transport to the private sector.

26 February (Saturday): Speed Medical will elect a new board during ordinary general assembly (pdf).

27 February (Sunday): British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) green finance event with Finance Minister Mohamed Maait, Semiramis Intercontinental, Cairo

28 February- 1 March (Monday-Tuesday): The Future of Data Centers Summit.

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.

March: The Salam – new administrative capital – 10th of Ramadan Light Rail Train (LRT) line will start operating.

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.

24 March (Thursday): Egypt will host Senegal in the first leg of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers' playoff.

26 March (Saturday): Egypt-EU World Trade Organization dispute settlement consultations end.

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

29 March (Tuesday): The second leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers' playoff between Egypt and Senegal.

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

31 March (Thursday): Vodacom purchase of Vodafone Group’s stake in Vodafone Egypt expected to be completed by this date.

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.

14 April (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

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.

4 May (Wednesday): 3 February (Thursday): Deadline to send in applications for Cultural Property Agreement Implementation projects to the US Embassy in Cairo.

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.

9 June (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy 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.

2H2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

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.

21 July (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

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.

8 September (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

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

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

October: World Bank and IMF annual meetings in Washington, DC

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.

27 October (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

Late October – 14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

November: Cairo Water Week 2022.

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

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

7-18 November (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

21 November-18 December (Monday-Sunday): 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar.

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

15 December (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy 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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