Wednesday, 23 February 2022

AM — House gives final nod to future flow securitization and a raft of real estate + property bills

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends. We’re smiling here this morning after news that the official count of new covid-19 infections fell below the 2k mark yesterday. It’s the first time in four weeks that the gauge has dipped below that mark, suggesting we’re now past the peak of this wave.

Don’t be fooled by this morning’s unseasonably warm weather — temperatures are expected to plunge to 10° tonight across Egypt, with stormy weather expected to hit the North Coast and a slight chance of rain expected in Cairo, according to the national weather service. We’re looking forward to a high today of 26°C before temps fall back to 18-20°C Thursday through Saturday.

THE BIG STORY here at home is courtesy our elected representatives, who passed yesterday a raft of bills that will give us future flow securitization and a simpler real estate registry — and close the door on a Nasserist legacy that has left property owners unable to evict businesses and government agencies leasing space under the so-called Old Rent Law. We have chapter and verse on this and more in this morning’s news well, below.

YOUR MANDATORY (NOT YET) WAR DISPATCH- Western nations are slapping Russia with sanctions over Ukraine. The US, United Kingdom, Canada and many European Union countries announced separate packages of sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would send troops into two separatist regions of Ukraine. The Western nations’ sanctions largely target the international dealings of Russian banks and high net-worth individuals, though Germany went a step further, as it put on hold the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia.

Analysts are saying the moves are unlikely to have a major impact on Russia’s “fortress” economy. Most Western nations held off on implementing the most severe sanctions in the hopes that they can still persuade Putin to call off a wider invasion. The Russian leader is sitting on more than USD 600 bn worth of foreign currency and gold reserves (handily one of the top five stockpiles in the world), giving him plenty of time to withstand sanctions.

Russian lawmakers gave Putin the greenlight to advance: The country’s legislators voted unanimously to allow the use of military force abroad yesterday.

But it’s still not clear just how far Putin plans to take this: Russian boots are not yet on the ground in Ukraine, though satellite imagery shows increased military build-up on the border and in Belarus. “I haven’t said that the troops will go there right now,” Putin said.

Putin is keeping Kyiv on high alert as it peruses a laundry list of demands that the Russian president says would be needed to end the crisis. He wants Ukraine to recognize the 2014 annexation of Crimea, promise never to join NATO, and partially demilitarize. (Chances of any of those wishes being granted are slim to none.)

The US is adamant that an invasion is coming: “To put it simply, Russia just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine,” US President Joe Biden said yesterday, “This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Ukraine is still trying to project calm: Kyiv has called up reservists but isn’t yet calling for a general mobilization.

Markets, naturally enough, don’t like any of this one bit: The S&P 500 slipped into correction territory on the back of yesterday’s news, falling 1% — putting it down 10.3% from its January peak. The last time that happened was in March 2020 at the outbreak of a pandemic, when the benchmark index went on to fall more than 30% in the space of a month. Other US markets posted similar losses, but European indices largely closed out flat after dipping earlier in the day.

Markets also have the collective attention span of a three-month-old puppy: Asian markets are in the green this morning (with the exception of the Nikkei), and futures at dispatch time suggest that most major European and Wall Street benchmarks will follow suit later today.

And the crisis is pushing oil ever-closer to the USD-100 mark: Brent crude hit a seven-year high of more than USD 99 during trading, before falling back to close at just under USD 97.

Need more coverage? Bloomberg, Reuters, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and the New York Times are all following events in Ukraine as they unfold.

LOOKING AHEAD-

Expect a final decision on the Iran nuclear accord this week, according to Twitter statements by the French, Russian and UK negotiators in Vienna. The negotiators are gearing up to finalize resolutions during a Joint Commission meeting later in the week, according to an unidentified European official cited by Bloomberg.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

ARE YOU BUILDING A FINTECH STARTUP? You might want to apply for Visa’s global startup competition, the Visa Everywhere Initiative, the payments firm said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. In collaboration with the Central Bank of Egypt’s new Fintech Egypt project, the local contest will see Egyptian fintech players go head-to-head for a monetary award and the chance to advance to the regional and global finals. On offer: EGP 500k for the first-place finisher and a place in the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) regional finals in June.

What you need to know: A full breakdown on the entry criteria, the application process, and the schedule is available online here. The deadline for applications in Egypt is 20 March.

MEANWHILE- Two Egyptian startups will pitch their businesses to leading tech investors at the pan-African Africa Tech Summit in Nairobi, which kicks off today. Blockchain-based communications platform Pravica and agritech startup Visual and AI Solutions (VAIS) are among the nine startups that have been selected for the two-day event, which will bring together African startups, VC and private equity investors, lenders, and global tech leaders.

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

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

In today’s issue: After landing contracts to design and supervise several transport and infrastructure projects in Egypt, French consulting and engineering firm Egis has plans to do more here and expand its footprint. We sat down with Egis CEO Laurent Germain, Middle East CEO Alaa AbuSiam, and Egypt Managing Director Sameh Atalla to talk about the group’s goals for Egypt, including prospective projects and possible acquisitions, as well as its plans to cement its presence here.

enterprise

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LEGISLATION WATCH

A busy day in the House gives us future flow securitization, new eviction rules

Say hello to future flow securitization: The House of Representatives’ general assembly gave its final approval yesterday to amendments to the Capital Markets Act that will introduce future flow securitization, according to Al Borsa. Cabinet approved the amendments necessary to create the capital-raising tool in November after the Financial Regulatory Authority issued last May regulations that paved the way.

What on earth is future flow securitization, you ask? Future flow securitization differs from traditional securitization in that it allows the securitization of payments that aren’t on the company’s balance sheet yet, giving companies access to liquidity without needing a big portfolio of accounts receivable (think: home and car financing, leasing portfolios and the like). Future income, whether from club memberships, phone bills, utility payments, tuition fees or rent, is packaged into securities and offered to investors in order to raise capital. This gives public- and private-sector companies such as utilities providers, healthcare companies, telecom players, and education outfits new ways to create liquidity.

Landlords will be able to evict organizations from non-residential properties soon(-ish), after the House gave its final approval to amendments to the “old rent” law, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The amendments, which come into effect in five years, will raise the rent for organizations, government agencies, public and private companies, embassies, and other entities leasing properties under the old rent system. Rent will be increased fivefold for the first year after the law is passed, with an annual 15% increase until the amendments come into effect. Once the five-year period passes, the law lays out a judicial path for landlords to evict these tenants and set new rent rates according to market prices. The House Housing Committee signed off on the bill last month.

Amendments to the Real Estate Registry Act also earned final sign-off from the House general assembly yesterday, Al Borsa reports. The amendments are designed to streamline the real estate registration process by significantly reducing the number of documents needed, digitizing parts of the procedures, and putting a time ceiling on the entire process. The House had given its first nod to the amendments earlier this month, after they received sign-off from the House Legislative Committee in January.

Not included in the final text of the law: A clause setting out the exact administrative fees to be levied on filing registration forms. A number of MPs in the House Legislative Committee had originally requested that the bill — which does not specify that registration forms are filed with tax offices without charge — include the exact fee, rather than leave that to be determined in the executive regulations to the law. The committee’s final report on the bill indicated that the Justice Ministry will have the authority to determine the fee, which is not required in the text of the law, according to Masrawy.

Next steps: The three bills will now make their way to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to be signed into law. Executive regulations will follow.

OTHER LEGISLATION NEWS- The House rejected amendments to the Income Tax Act that would have seen property owners pay a lump sum tax ranging from EGP 1.5k – 4k when they register real estate assets that were sold before the original law came into effect in 2013, Ahram Online reports. Properties sold after that date would have continued being subject to the current 2.5% tax paid by sellers on properties’ disposition or quick sale value. MPs reportedly said the new bill would discourage people from registering their properties and inflict economic hardship on low-income families. The Planning and Budget Committee had greenlit the amendments earlier this month.

What now? The amendments will be sent back to the Planning and Budget Committee for redrafting, according to Ahram Online.

CAPITAL MARKETS

EGX launches four new sub-indices

The EGX launched four new sub-indices to track the performance of the most actively traded sovereign debt instruments yesterday in a move that paves the way for investment in index-tracking bond funds and other products linked to those gauges, according to a statement (pdf). The index will only include EGP-denominated debt, the statement says.

In detail: The indices will track treasury bonds according to their tenors: one for bonds with maturities of 1-3 years; one for 3-5 year bonds; one for 5-7 year bonds; and one for bonds with maturities of 7+ years. Only fixed rate bonds can be put in an index, with a minimum value per issuance of EGP 2.5 bn. The bonds included in the indices will be limited to more actively traded and liquid government bonds, with each constituent given a weighting based on its market cap. Each index will be reviewed (or “rebalanced”) once a month.

The launch of the sub-indices comes shortly after our sovereign bonds rejoined JPMorgan’s emerging-market bond index following a decade of absence, in a move that could bring new passive flows into the local debt market. Fourteen EGP bonds worth around USD 26 bn have been added to the JPMorgan GBI-EM Global Diversified Index, giving Egypt a weighting of 1.85%.

Background: The sub-indices fall under an index for publicly-traded government treasuries that the EGX introduced in August 2021. The new indices come after the bourse rolled out a platform to facilitate the trading of government bonds. The platform is expected to provide traders with more detailed information on prices, bids, and orders, and will open up requests for quotations (RFQs), which allow licensed primary-dealers of sovereign debt to ask for quotes from sellers when buying, and use quotation screens to set prices when selling. The trading value of treasury bonds increased to EGP 544 bn by the end of 2021, compared to EGP 378 bn in 2020.

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TRADE

More clarity from CBE on new import rules

The Central Bank of Egypt has responded in a document to queries from importers on its recently issued rules requiring them to get letters of credit (L/Cs) for their purchases instead of the common practice of documentary collection, Hapi Journal reports, picking up a story from state news agency MENA.

Temporary imports and imports for re-export are exempt from the new rules, the CBE clarified. The CBE last week gave exemptions to imports by foreign companies, those made via express shipment, imports of goods worth up to USD 5k, and a raft of commodity and pharma imports.

But imports by freezone companies are not exempt: Freezone companies will not be treated as if they are located outside of Egypt for the purposes of the new rule — that is to say, purchases conducted in EGP between companies in free zones and local firms will not require L/Cs, whereas imports to freezone companies from abroad conducted in foreign currencies will.

Also: Standby letters of credit — which act more like guarantees on the importer’s purchase in the event that they fail to meet contractual obligations — can be issued by banks but will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the CBE.

Need a refresher? As of yesterday, banks can only accept L/Cs to facilitate the purchase of imports and will no longer accept documentary collection. The central bank has announced several measures to facilitate the move, which has drew criticism from trade and industry organizations, who said it could drive up the price of goods in the local market and hurt the competitiveness of Egyptian exports.

ECONOMY

Gov’t again ups 2021-2022 growth forecast

Egypt’s economy is expected to grow 6.2-6.5% in FY2021-2022, marking an upwards revision from the previously expected 6%, Planning Minister Hala El Said said yesterday, according to a statement. The economy grew 3.3% during FY2020-2021, according to official figures.

The upwards revision comes after 2Q2021-2022 growth exceeded expectations to record 8.3%, beating government forecasts of 6-7% for the quarter. The higher-than-expected growth during the second quarter of the fiscal year helped push 1H2021-2022 growth to 9%, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said earlier this month.

Strong growth in recent months has been pushing full-year estimates up: This is the third upwards revision the government has made to its initial 5.4% estimate in the draft budget for the current fiscal year.

The gov’t aren’t the only ones feeling increasingly optimistic: The IMF last month revised upwards its 2021-2022 forecast to 5.6%, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank — as well as a Reuters poll of economists — all made upgrades to their estimates last quarter, and are now predicting that the economy will grow 4.9-5.1% this year.

ENERGY

ACWA Power in advanced talks with SFE over wind farm in Gulf of Suez

ACWA Power in talks over c. 250 MW wind farm: Saudi renewables company ACWA Power is in advanced talks with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) to build a c. 250 MW wind farm in the Gulf of Suez, Al Borsa reports, citing unnamed sources who claimed a contract could be signed within weeks. The 250 MW generation capacity of the wind farm is not final and is subject to change, the sources noted. The SFE would reportedly own a minority stake in the project.

It’s not clear yet who will finance the project, the sources said. ACWA recently signed an agreement worth USD 2 bn with French lender Natixis to fund the company’s projects in the region.

ACWA has a significant presence in Egypt, including through its 200 MW Kom Ombo solar power plant, which in April got USD 114 mn in backing from a consortium of international lenders led by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The company has minority stakes in three plants in Benban and an upcoming project with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company to convert an electricity plant in Luxor to renewable energy, and has reportedly expressed interest in Egypt’s investment in desalination infrastructure.

ENERGY

A Siemens + Desert Technologies JV will invest USD 25 mn in solar energy projects, acquisitions in Egypt

Siemens-backed JV to invest USD 25 mn in Egypt’s solar infrastructure: Capton Energy — a newly established joint venture between Siemens’ financing arm, Siemens Financial Services, and Saudi-based solar energy firm Desert Technologies — plans to invest USD 25 mn in new and existing solar energy projects in Egypt in a first stage, Al Borsa quotes Desert Technologies’ business development manager in Egypt, Mohamed Al Dabie, as saying.

USD 18 mn solar plant on the cards: Capton is already in advanced talks with a factory in southern Egypt to launch an 18 MW solar plant at an investment cost of some USD 18 mn, Al Dabie said. The JV aims to build a 1 GW portfolio of clean energy projects across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and is in talks with international lenders over financing.

A sign that our solar sector still has legs? The Dubai-headquartered JV plans to launch its operations in Egypt due to our “attractive legislative and investment climate,” Al Dabie said. Local industry players have in recent weeks spoken of their “anxiety and concern” that new investment to the industry could be hobbled by new solar plant integration fees, as well as the incoming 5% import tariff on PV cells.

STARTUP WATCH

Samas Gamify scores USD 150k in pre-seed round

HR tech startup Samas Gamify has raised USD 150k in a pre-seed round led by Softeq Venture Studio, according to a press release. The funding will help the startup develop its product and accelerate the roll out. Its founders hope to release an early version to a select group of users in mid-2022.

What does Samas Gamify do? The startup wants to gamify the employee recruitment process, helping organizations hire top talent by providing AI- and blockchain-based psychometric assessments. Since launching earlier this year, the company has built its MVP and has begun pre-registration for companies.

OTHER STARTUP NEWS- Microlender Tamweely will be listed on fintech app Singularity Finance’s B2B marketplace after the two firms signed an agreement, according to a press release (pdf). Singularity’s Dabarhali marketplace connects SMEs to local and global suppliers and lenders.

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LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Strong GDP growth dominated last night’s coverage: Planning Minister Hala El Said took to the airwaves last night to fill Kelma Akhira in on the government’s measures to help curb inflation and support economic growth (watch, runtime: 19:34), which is now on track to hit 6.2-6.5% this fiscal year. Hedging against some commodities, prioritizing local production and maintaining sufficient stockpile reserves are all supporting growth, El Said said — despite global concerns including escalating geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the persistent supply chain crisis. We have more on the latest growth figures in today’s Economy section, above.

Selling a stake in a military-owned company: At least one National Service Projects-affiliated company (think bottled water firm Safi or oil outfit Wataniya Petroleum) is expected to list on the bourse by the end of 2022, as part of the recently revived state privatization program, El Said added (watch, runtime: 4:22). She had earlier said that the Madbouly government plans to sell stakes in state-owned companies every month or two, while Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said the program could resume as soon as next month.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Edita’s Molto Sandwich gets a rebrand with three new flavors + EFG Hermes’ valU launches new algo-based risk management tool

Edita’s Molto Sandwich is now Molto Fino, with new flavors: Edita Food Industries is introducing three new flavors as part of a rebranding of its Molto Sandwich line to “Molto Fino,” the company announced in a press release (pdf). Molto Fino, which retails at EGP 5 per pack, now comes in Mexican cheese, roumy cheese and pastrami flavors, in addition to the five existing flavors. The launch comes as the snackfoods maker aims to tap into demand for savory products in baked goods, in which it holds a 60% market share, and migrate buyers to higher price points. The launch comes just a week after Edita unveiled its Oniro Lava biscuits.

EFG Hermes’ fintech buy-now-pay-later firm ValU has launched (pdf) a new algorithmic tool to assess the creditworthiness of borrowers that it says will translate into higher approval rates.

TE partners on new Europe-Asia data cable: Work has begun (pdf) on a new 19.2k km high-speed data cable linking France and Singapore that will transit through Egypt. Telecom Egypt is among the 12-strong consortium that is working with global fiber company Subcom to lay the cable, which is expected to come online in 1Q2025. The cable will land from Singapore at Ras Ghareb before transiting on-land to Port Said, which will connect to Marseille in the south of France.

We’ll soon have subsea cables coming out of our ears: Some 13 cables currently transmit data from Egypt to Europe, while TE plans to add six more cables over three years. It’s all part of our ambitions to become a data hub between Asia, Europe, and Africa.

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

  • EgyptAir will resume direct flights between Cairo and Bangkok starting 1 June, after halting them in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The national carrier will operate three weekly flights.
  • Uber Bus for Business is landing: Ride-hailing app Uber has staged the global launch (pdf) of its B2B “Uber Bus for Business” service in Egypt.
  • Emirati real estate developer Sky Abu Dhabi is planning to invest EGP 700 mn in its two developments in the new administrative capital this year.

PLANET FINANCE

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Brookfield eyes FAB’s payment business: Canadian asset management giant Brookfield is reportedly in talks to acquire Magnati, First Abu Dhabi Bank’s (FAB) payment arm, in a transaction that could value it at more than USD 1 bn, Bloomberg reported yesterday, citing unidentified sources. The EFG Hermes-suitor could receive more bids from other potential buyers for the subsidiary, the people said.

Israel’s Delek Drilling rebrands, looks to Morocco exploration: Israeli energy company Delek Drilling has rebranded to NewMed Energy, ahead of expansion plans that could see it launch natural gas exploration in Morocco, according to a press release. Alongside Chevron, the company operates Israel’s two biggest offshore reservoirs, the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, from which natgas is pumped our way for liquefaction and re-export to Europe.

Kipco restructures OSN ahead of potential sale: Kuwait-based Kipco, the majority shareholder of OSN, is working to restructure and develop the TV network ahead of a potential sale, a company source told Sky News Arabia.

Up

EGX30

11,302

-1.7% (YTD: -5.4%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

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USD at CIB

Buy 15.66

Sell 15.76

None

Interest rates CBE

8.25% deposit

9.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

12,562

+0.8% (YTD: +11.3%)

Up

ADX

9,103

+0.7% (YTD: +7.2%)

Down

DFM

3,309

-0.1% (YTD: +3.6%)

Down

S&P 500

4,305

-1.0% (YTD: -9.7%)

Up

FTSE 100

7,494

+0.1% (YTD: +1.5%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 96.84

+1.5%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 4.51

+0.3%

Down

Gold

USD 1,900

-0.4%

Up

BTC

USD 37,890

+2.8% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 fell 1.7% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 837 mn (18% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 5.4% YTD.

In the green: Eastern Company (+1.4%), Qalaa Holdings (+0.9%) and EFG Hermes (+0.5%).

In the red: Cleopatra Hospital (-4.4%), Ibnsina Pharma (-4.2%) and CIRA (-4.2%).

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What France’s Egis has in store for Egypt: French consulting, construction engineering, and mobility service provider Egis Group has its eyes on the Egyptian market over the next several years. It already has a number of projects here under its belt, including transport and infrastructure projects under the government’s purview, as well as projects for private sector players, such as managing the construction or renovation of buildings. Still, Egis sees plenty of room for growth here and it is working to grow its operations in Egypt this year and in the medium term.

We sat down with Egis CEO Laurent Germain, Middle East CEO Alaa AbuSiam, and Egypt Managing Director Sameh Atalla to talk about the group’s goals for Egypt, including prospective projects and possible acquisitions, as well as its plans to cement its presence here.

Edited excerpts from our conversation:

Egypt is a key focus market for Egis in 2022, especially when it comes to infrastructure projects, including in transportation, construction, and desalination, Germain said. The company employs 1.2k people across the Middle East and boasts a portfolio of USD 140 mn in the region. Right now, the majority of Egis’ operations and turnover are concentrated in the GCC, particularly countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, “because we have been present there for a much longer time and worked on big projects, like the Doha and Riyadh metros,” Germain says.

There’s a lot of room for growth for the company here: As it currently stands, Egis’ activities in Egypt account for a rather small portion of the company’s overall revenues. In 2021, the company reported EUR 1.2 bn of revenues, 35% (EUR 420 mn) of which were from its operations in France. Its Egypt operations only accounted for EUR 2.21 mn of its total topline, according to Germain. Egis wants to double its revenue stream from Egypt by the end of 2022 and reach around EUR 8.8 by 2026, AbuSiam said.

The portfolio of upcoming infrastructure projects makes Egypt an attractive market for Egis to double down on in the near term. “Egypt is one of the most dynamic countries in the region in terms of the number and the volume of projects,” Germain explains. With strong government investment in infrastructure development and a growing population that will only increase the demand for buildings and transport infrastructure, now is the right time for the group to invest in the country, he says.

Sweetening the terms: France’s aid programs, which make it attractive for French companies to invest in Egypt. “Egypt is a country where the French government is investing the largest chunk of foreign aid worldwide,” Germain says. This benefits the French companies and is a signal for the French companies to continue to invest more than in the past in the country, he adds.

Specifically, Egis wants to do more in our transport sector. The company is already working on several transport projects, including the El Raml Tram in Alexandria, for which it is providing design and supervision services, as well as conducting feasibility studies on modernizing Cairo Metro Line 2. Egis was also tapped to provide coordination, management, and construction supervision services of Cairo Metro Line 3 Phase 3 in partnership with Systra, ACE, and EHAF. The company is now preparing its bids for work on the Abu Qir Metro and Cairo Metro Line 6, AbuSiam says.

The company also wants to get in on roads and airports — but that may require a change-up in how these projects are offered. About 25% of the group’s revenues are done through concessions, and operations and maintenance contracts for roads and airports. Egypt doesn’t currently allow private concessions for roads and airports, but Egis would be “keen to participate” should that change, Germain said. “If the Egyptian government would be open … we would compete with a bid and be ready to invest in concessions,” he said.

Desalination projects are next in line. “There is a lot of focus in Egypt on providing clean water, and there will be an installation of 47 desalination projects over the coming year. We intend definitely to be part of this,” Attalla says.

All of this is going to need financing, so Egis might soon have business for our commercial banks: Egis typically gets all its financing needs from its mother company in France or its Dubai branch, Attalla says. But given the group’s plan to grow five-fold until 2026, it will need to eventually knock on banks’ doors for funding. Of particular interest? “We'll probably be doing business with commercial banks, like CIB and the Arab African International Bank,” he said.

The company is looking to set up a more permanent foundation here: Egis is not only interested in managing projects in Egypt, but to hire local talent and train them to become the leaders of tomorrow’s infrastructure projects, Atalla says. “The idea is to produce more in the country,” Germain says, adding that by 2026, Egis wants to have a permanent workforce of Egyptian engineers who will remain on a long-term basis.

Part of that is growing the local talent: The group has its own Rail Academy, where engineers are trained by international experts in the sector, and Egyptian engineers are high on the priority list. “The ministers were very interested in that kind of investment, namely having foreign companies investing in the training of Egyptian engineers for them to stay in the country and to be a part of the country’s human capital for future infrastructure projects,” Germain tells us.

Acquisitions may also be in the cards to grow its footprint: “We are looking into acquisitions in the Egyptian market,” Germain tells us. The company is specifically looking at “engineering companies that could give us local production capacity more quickly.”


Your top infrastructure stories for the week:

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 a 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.

1H2022: The Transport Ministry to sign a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi Ports to set up a transport route across the Nile to transport products from Al Canal’s Minya sugar factory.

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.

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.

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.

22-24 February (Tuesday-Thursday): Investment Forum, General Authority For Investments (GAFI) Main Office, Nasr City.

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 (Monday): Applications close for the incubator and accelerator program run by Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), US-based VC firm Plug and Play, and USAID.

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

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.

March: The new multi-purpose station at Dekheila Port and the revamped Ain Sokhna Port will start operating.

March: General Authority for Land and Dry Ports to issue the condition booklets for the operations of the Tenth of Ramadan dry port.

3 March (Thursday): Fawry’s extraordinary general assembly (pdf) to vote on EGP 800 mn capital increase.

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

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

20 March (Sunday): Applications close for Visa’s global startup competition, the Visa Everywhere Initiative.

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

25 March (Friday): Egypt will host Senegal in the first leg of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers’ playoff (TBC).

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.

28 March (Monday): The second leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers’ playoff between Egypt and Senegal (TBC).

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.

April: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

April: Ghazl El Mahalla shares will begin trading on the EGX.

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.

Mid-April: Trading on the Egyptian Commodity Exchange to start.

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.

5-7 June (Sunday-Tuesday): Africa Health ExCon, Al Manara International Conference Center, Egypt International Exhibitions Center, and the St. Regis Almasa Hotel, New Administrative Capital.

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.

July: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

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.

September: Central Bank of Egypt’s Innovation and Financial Technology Center to launch incubator for 25 fintech startups.

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

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

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

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

October: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

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.

January: Fuel pricing committee meets to decide quarterly fuel prices.

**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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