Thursday, 24 March 2022

AM — Here we go: Egypt, IMF confirm talks over new program

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Well, friends, we’ve made it through another week together — and what a week it was, between a snap interest rate hike + devaluation, the announcement of a massive stimulus program, bns in fresh investment from the UAE, and now an announcement that we’re in talks for an IMF program.

Here’s hoping you can all relax a bit this weekend, because if the theme this week was about absorbing the pace of change, we think next week week will be all about “sorting out what this change means for our businesses.”

The EGP strengthened a bit against the greenback yesterday, settling at EGP 18.42 by the end of the day, a 1% rise from Tuesday’s EGP 18.57. Bankers with whom we spoke on Tuesday had suggested the currency may have overshot a bit following Monday’s devaluation, as it did immediately after the 2016 float. The EGP is now down 17.3% against the since the start of the week, while analysts had previously suggested it was 15-16% overvalued.

Savers are continuing to pour bns into the new 18% CDs launched by Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt in the wake of the Central Bank of Egypt’s 100-bps rate hike. More than EGP 100 bn has been invested in the certificates since they were launched on Monday: EGP 72 bn with the NBE and EGP 33 bn with Banque Misr.

MORE GOOD NEWS with which to start your Thursday: Egyptian companies are finally starting to include more women on their boards: 69.8% of companies in an AUC Women on Boards Observatory survey (pdf) had at least one woman on the board of directors in 2021, up from 54.3% the year before. The survey includes EGX-listed companies, banks, NBFS players and state-owned enterprises, all of which face regulatory requirements demanding they have women on their BoD.

HATS OFF to EFG Hermes’ aiBank and the United Bank of Egypt. They’re the only two banks at which women accounted for 30% or more of board members, according to the study. In total, 138 companies in the data set (or just shy of 13%) met that threshold, meaning they do better than the regulation in place since last year that all EGX-listed companies see at least a quarter of their board seats held by women. The FRA, which regulates the non-bank financial services sector, has separately said it would slash development and service fees for companies whose staff were at least 25% women.

Public sector firms didn’t get the memo: The number of women on boards of state-owned enterprises fell below 2018 levels to 8.1%.


Egypt may have just taken a step forward in its financial inclusion ambitions: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has launched a national digital payment app, InstaPay, which provides instant and secure payments between Egyptian banks, Meeza cards, and mobile wallets via its new nationwide instant payment network (IPN), it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday.

Transaction fees will be waived on the app until June, said Ehab Nasr, CBE’s assistant sub-governor for banking operations and payment systems. The central bank didn’t disclose how much people will have to pay to transfer money after that date.

Who’s in? The network currently includes the CIB, the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, Alexbank, QNB Al Ahli, Arab Bank, AAIB, Banque du Caire, Egyptian Gulf Bank, and SAIB, the statement said, with an eye to eventually include all banks in Egypt. You can download the app on Google Play and the App Store. Or search for “Instapay Egypt” in the search bar to make sure you find it and not the other apps of the same name.


WHAT’S NOT HAPPENING TODAY-

The MPC meeting: The Central Bank of Egypt has canceled (pdf) today’s regularly scheduled Monetary Policy Committee meeting after enacting a surprise 100 bps rate hike at a special meeting on Monday.

WHAT IS HAPPENING TODAY-

EV-charging bid ends today: It’s the last day for companies applying to manage the soon-to-be-established company for EV charging stations to submit their bids. The deadline was originally set for 17 March but was extended for one week. Three companies, including the Saudi Al Sharif Holding Group, so far have expressed their interest in the project.

PSA- School’s out in Alexandria due to bad weather: All schools across Alexandria will be closed today in anticipation of rain and stormy weather forecast by the Egyptian Meteorological Authority, Alex Governor Mohamed El Sherif announced yesterday.

Yet more sanctions are going to be heading Russia’s way today as US President Joe Biden lands in Europe for emergency meetings with Nato and European officials. More Russian political figures, oligarchs, and institutions will be penalized, national security advisor Jake Sullivan said in a press briefing.

Nato members are expected to agree to deploy more troops in Central and Eastern Europe, and will also discuss a proposal put forward by Poland last week that would see Nato peacekeepers deployed in Ukraine. Russia has described the idea as “extremely dangerous,” warning that it could bring Nato troops into direct conflict with the Russian military.

The EU isn’t going to be banning Russian energy, but it wants to slash imports ASAP: Biden and European leaders are expected to reach an agreement on Friday on a plan that would enable the bloc to slash its reliance on Russian crude and natural gas, Bloomberg says. The plan will reportedly ensure supplies of US natural gas and hydrogen to Europe, according to an anonymous official.

RUB or no gas, Putin tells “unfriendly” countries: This comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that gas buyers in Europe pay for imports in RUB rather than EUR, causing prices to surge on fears that the move could exacerbate the continent’s energy crisis. European gas prices rose more than 30% after Putin gave the central bank a week to draw up plans for accepting RUB payments so they could implement the measures “in the shortest time possible.”

It’s unclear whether Russia would actually start withholding gas should European companies fail to pay in RUB, though analysts say the move indicates that Moscow may be willing to sacrifice some of its biggest customers as it escalates with the West. “This shows a greater willingness of Russia to jeopardize its gas agreements amid its political confrontation with the west,” said the head of one energy consultancy. Buyers in Europe — which imports 40% of its gas from Russia — rejected the demand and said it would amount to a breach of contract. (Reuters | Bloomberg | FT)

MARKET WATCH-

The market is preparing for the Fed to accelerate its tightening cycle and raise rates by 50 bps when it next meets in May. After Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said this week that the central bank will consider half-point rate hikes going forward, the market is now expecting two 50-bps increases in May and June. Strategists at Bank of America and Goldman Sachs now see interest rates being 100 bps higher by the middle of June after Powell said the Fed has to move “expeditiously” to contain soaring inflation.

The Fed raised rates by 25 bps last week in its first hike in four years, and policymakers indicated that it could end the year at around 2%, meaning quarter-point raises at each of the remaining meetings this year. Now, some Fed officials favor increasing rates to 2.5%, including Loretta Mester, who told reporters that she sees the need to be “more aggressive earlier rather than later.”

The hawkish tilt is battering bonds, which have suffered losses described by Bloomberg as “unprecedented.” US treasuries are on course for record losses this year amid concerns about inflation and fears that higher interest rates will push the US economy into recession.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Egypt International Mining Show (EIMS 2022) kicks off next Monday. The virtual event will wrap on Tuesday.

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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ECONOMY

Here we go: Egypt, IMF confirm talks over new program

It’s official: The government has requested support from the IMF to mitigate the impact of the war in Ukraine on its economy. Statements from the IMF and cabinet yesterday confirmed that the two sides are in talks on a new program, though it remains unclear what kind of assistance the Fund is willing to offer.

It could include a new loan: Egypt is negotiating a “program of support and technical advice” that “may include additional financing,” said cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad.

The IMF said it is “working closely with the authorities to prepare for program discussions” and that “a set of macroeconomic and structural policy measures” would be required to offset the economic shock caused by the conflict. The statement did not disclose further details.

Analysts were expecting this: Analysts ⁠— including at JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Moody’s and Capital Economics ⁠— have been floating the possibility of a fresh IMF program after the CBE devalued the currency and hiked interest rates, and the government announced new fiscal stimulus measures. It is not clear if these were preconditions to landing support from the Fund, or mature policy moves that are expected to make the talks go smoother.

Our policy actions received the IMF’s seal of approval: The Madbouly government’s move this week to devalue the EGP and shore up the social safety net was a “welcome step,” it said. “Continued exchange rate flexibility will be essential to absorb external shocks and safeguard financial buffers during this uncertain time.”

And it’s all because… fallout from the Ukraine conflict has combined with existing supply chain issues to send commodity prices soaring, leaving Egypt — a major commodities importer — exposed to a level of inflation the cabinet described as “unprecedented.” Rising interest rates around the world are also increasing the costs of financing, the cabinet said, a particular problem for countries such as Egypt which have sizeable amounts of USD-denominated debt. It also acknowledged that “panic among investors has led to the decline and exit of their investments from many emerging countries”

A reform pledge: The government will “continue efforts to implement economic and structural reforms” to ensure sustainable economic growth and increase the private sector’s role in the economy, the cabinet said. Egypt will continue to cooperate with international partners and institutions, including the IMF, to achieve that, he said, adding that the Egyptian authorities have been in regular contact and consultation with the fund.

To quote Yogi Berra, is it deja vu all over again? In November 2016, the EGP was devalued after the CBE floated the currency to meet a key demand by the IMF to secure a USD 12 bn Extended Fund facility over three years to stabilize our economy.

We’ve turned to the IMF twice more since: In 2020, Egypt borrowed USD 5.2 bn under a standby agreement and USD 2.8 bn under a rapid financing instrument following the outbreak of covid.

Egypt is eligible for each of the three programs, a source familiar with discussions told Reuters earlier this week. Egypt has exceeded its IMF borrowing quota, so any financial assistance will be lent under exceptional access criteria, meaning that the government will face greater scrutiny from the Fund, they said.

The story is getting coverage all over the business press: Reuters | AFP | Bloomberg | FT | The National.

M&A WATCH

ADQ is buying … a lot

Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ is acquiring state-held stakes in Abu Qir Fertilizers, Mopco, and Alexandria Container & Cargo Handling, Bloomberg reports, citing a source it says has knowledge of the matter. Bloomberg’s source did not disclose further details on how much the government has agreed to sell or an expected timeline.

The reported sale would be part of a USD 2 bn investment from ADQ that would see it buy up state-held stakes in five EGX-listed companies, which Bloomberg reported earlier this week would include up to 18% of leading private sector bank CIB, an unspecified stake in fintech darling Fawry, and three other unnamed companies. State institutions own at least 8.3% of CIB and 12.6% of Fawry, according to the most recent available filings for each institution (here and here — pdf), but likely own far more shares in CIB.

Some of the shares in Abu Qir could come from the National Investment Bank, which according to Masrawy is planning to sell down some of its holdings in the company, citing an anonymous government source. State-owned firms own more than 70% of the fertilizer company, of which 21.5% is held by the NIB.

Shares rose on the news: Alex Containers gained 4.9% in trading yesterday while Abu Qir rose 1.8%. Mopco finished 0.5% up.

Ahead of ADQ’s reported stake purchase in Fawry, Banque Misr raised its stake in the fintech darling yesterday, buying an 8.85% stake in a EGP 1.47 bn block transaction, according to a disclosure to the EGX (pdf). The bank purchased 151.10 mn shares at an average price of EGP 9.75 per share. The transaction, which was executed by CI Capital, brings Banque Misr’s total stake in Fawry to 15.78%.

Fawry’s shares dipped 0.9% at yesterday’s close after the block trade was announced. The dip came one day after its shares surged 5.4% on the heels of the news of ADQ’s planned stake purchase.

ADQ has had heavy appetite for Egypt for some time now: In 2019, ADQ established a USD 20 bn joint investment fund with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt to channel funds into a variety of industries and assets. The wealth fund has had plenty of appetite for acquisitions in Egyptian companies, with its latest blockbuster transaction being its acquisition of leading real estate developer SODIC alongside Aldar Properties last year. ADQ also acquired 99% of Bausch Health’s local pharma outfit Amoun Pharma, as well as 75% of Atyab brand owner Ismailia Agricultural and Industrial Investments.

And there could be more: Agthia, the fund’s food subsidiary that acquired Ismailia, reiterated earlier this week that it is pursuing further acquisitions in Egypt’s frozen meat and fast food industries.

OTHER M&A NEWS-

CI Capital approves acquisition of Misr Capital brokerage unit, education investment platform: CI Capital’s board has signed off on buying 99% of Misr Capital’s stake in Misr Capital Fixed Income Brokerage, according to a disclosure to the bourse (pdf). Misr Capital is Banque Misr’s investment arm. Banque Misr also owns a 90% stake in CI Capital. The investment bank also approved the acquisition of Misr Capital’s 25% stake in state-backed education investment fund Lighthouse Education, as well as its stake in its money market fund and another fund investing in debt instruments.

The Public Enterprises Ministry is offering a 25% stake in Cairo’s soon-to-be restored Continental Hotel to investors, in a public-private partnership that will see the Holding Company for Tourism hold the remaining 75% stake, Al Mal quotes Minister Hisham Tawfik as saying. Some 40% (c. EGP 600 mn) of the EGP 1.5 bn restoration project will be financed through bank loans, Tawfik said. The private sector partner will invest EGP 375 mn into the project.

INVESTMENT WATCH

EFG Hermes’ private equity units eye fresh investments + acquisitions

EFG Hermes-led Vortex Energy, RX Healthcare, and Education Fund eyeing fresh investments + acquisitions: EFG Hermes’ Egypt Education Fund, and its healthcare arm, RX Healthcare, are studying new investments and acquisitions, head of private equity and asset management Karim Moussa told Enterprise, confirming a story published in Al Mal.

The education fund plans to invest some USD 30-40 mn over the next 18 months in two different transactions, which will be added to the fund’s portfolio, and plans to make its first investment in a nursery after focusing solely on the K12 sector since its launch.

Some 60% of the fund’s capital has already been invested: The fund completed its third and final close last year, which saw it land commitments worth USD 150 mn from investors including the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, 60% (c. USD 90 mn) of which it has already deployed in various investments in the sector, Moussa said. The fund plans to invest the rest of its capital (c. USD 60 mn) over the next 12 months.

RX Healthcare eyes pharma acquisitions: Meanwhile, RX Healthcare Management is looking into two or three majority stake acquisitions of pharma companies in transactions valued at between USD 200-500 mn apiece, to follow its acquisition of United Pharma in 2019. The healthcare platform has allocated some EGP 1 bn for investment since its launch, Moussa said, adding that it plans to finish pumping the entire allocated amount by 2024.

Vortex Energy looks to make second close on its fourth fund, eyes expanding investments to EV sector: EFG’s renewable energy platform plans to reach a second close worth about USD 550 mn for its Vortex Energy IV fund within the next two years, bringing its total capital to USD 750 mn. The fund made its first USD 200 mn close last year, and is now planning to expand its investments to more sectors, including EV batteries and charging stations.

EFG is also looking into launching a new MENA tech fund, similar to its education, healthcare, and energy-focused platforms, said Moussa, who is co-CEO of the investment bank at EFG Hermes in charge of the buy side of the platform.


OTHER INVESTMENT NEWS-

Bakery chain TBS is looking to spend EGP 500 mn adding a new production line at its factory, Al Mal quotes co-founder Sameh El Sadat as saying. The company is currently in negotiations with three local banks for a loan, and hopes to secure the funding this year. TBS expects its new production line — set to come online in 2023 — will allow the company to double its annual sales to EGP 1 bn. The production line will be added to TBS’s joint venture with Mansour Group, which was inaugurated last year.

German companies kick the tires on Egypt investments: A number of German companies are considering making fresh investments in greenfield and brownfield projects in Egypt, including in the renewable energy, smart transportation and water desalination sectors, according to a cabinet statement out yesterday. This came during a meeting between Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and a delegation of 16 German firms who are currently visiting Egypt to discuss investments. The statement did not disclose which companies were present at the meeting.

FINANCE

valU to enter Saudi Arabia in 1H2022

EFG Hermes’ consumer finance platform valU will set foot in Saudi Arabia before the end of 1H2022, marking its first cross-border expansion, EFG Hermes Finance CEO Walid Hassouna told Bloomberg Asharq. The fintech platform is also looking at the Moroccan and Tunisian markets in cooperation with EFG Hermes’ e-payments subsidiary PayTabs.

The expansion to Saudi has been part of valU’s plans for some time now: Hassouna had flagged last year that valU would tap Saudi in 2022.

valU is on a spending spree, with a couple of acquisitions in the cards: The company is planning to acquire two unnamed companies in a field that complements consumer finance, Hassouna said. The two transactions are worth a combined USD 20 mn, with one acquisition set to be announced in mid-April. The transaction is currently pending board approval after due diligence has been completed.

New markets = more money: The company is looking to double its revenues to EGP 5 bn this year from EGP 2.4 bn in 2021.

Separately: valU has allocated around USD 40 mn this year to investments, which will fund the targeted acquisitions, infrastructure upgrades, and marketing, he said.

DEBT WATCH

Compass Capital takes USD 10 mn mezzanine loan from South African fund manager

PE outfit Compass Capital has taken out a USD 10 mn mezzanine loan from South African fund manager Vantage Capital to fund the acquisition of six office buildings in New Cairo, according to a statement (pdf). The properties are being purchased by Bonyan Development and Trade, a real estate developer acquired by Compass in 2018.

About the properties: The buildings are all located in New Cairo’s central business district, and have a gross leasable area of 47.2k sqm. They are currently fully tenanted, and house multinationals including Nestle, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson and Lafarge Cement, as well as Egyptian firms.

This is Vantage’s second investment in Egypt after lending PickAlbatros Hotels USD 23 mn last year.

A step forwards towards the offering of a real estate investment vehicle on the EGX? “There is currently no easy way for investors to gain exposure to a diversified portfolio of stable, yielding real estate assets in Egypt despite this being a major and fast-growing sector of the economy. Our vision is therefore to build such a real estate portfolio with a view to listing it on the Egyptian Stock Exchange,” co-managing partner Tarek Abdel Rahman said.

Advisors: Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy and Werksmans Attorneys provided legal advice on the transaction.

STARTUP WATCH

Egypt Deep-Tech to reach first close soon, plans to invest in 10 firms this year

Sequence Ventures is looking to invest EGP 150 mn in 10 tech companies this year via its Egypt Deep-Tech fund, Managing Partner Mohamed Fahmy told Al Mal. The fund is currently in talks with 22 startups with a view to deploying EGP 12-17 mn in 10 transactions starting as early as May.

The fund plans to reach its first close of EGP 150 mn after Ramadan, Sequence Ventures Executive Chairman Karim Helal confirmed to Enterprise. The fund has two more closes ahead, ranging between EGP 150-200 mn each to reach its EGP 500 mn final closing target.

About Egypt Deep-Tech: Launched in October, the fund is focused on acquiring companies operating in a range of tech sectors, including healthtech, fintech, edtech, proptech, logistics, and DevOps.

The fund made its first investment last year, committing an undisclosed amount of seed capital to AIM Technologies, an AI-driven customer experience platform.

EDITOR’S NOTE- This story was amended on 24 March, 2022 to correct the timeline of the fund’s first close.

EARNINGS WATCH

CI Capital net income up 44% in 4Q 2021

CI Capital’s net income rose 44% y-o-y to EGP 269 mn in 4Q 2021, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Consolidated revenues rose 20% during the October-December period to EGP 923 mn, with net interest income rising 9% to EGP 293 mn. On a full-year basis, CI Capital reported a 44% y-o-y increase in its net income, recording EGP 681 mn. Revenues rose 56% y-o-y in 2021, reaching EGP 3.68 bn, with non-banking financial services operations accounting for 57% of the total.

The growth came on the back of increased lending activity across the firm, with CI Capital extending EGP 8.5 bn in new loans in 2021 pushing their on-balance financing sheet portfolio to EGP 11.3 bn, according to a press release (pdf). Meanwhile, investment banking also saw an “unprecedented” performance, growing 4.1x y-oy in 2021 as CI Capital executed six landmark agreements worth more than USD 1.6 bn during the year. CI’s assets under management rose 44% y-oy to EGP 15.1 bn.

Further expansion is in the cards: CI Capital aims to continue growing their merchant banking platform, Group CEO Hesham Gohar said. Last year, CI acquired a 26.8% stake in Cleopatra Hospital through their JV with Banque Misr, MCI Capital Healthcare Partners. “Looking forward, we remain very excited about furthering our expansion strategy, introducing new innovative solutions to our clients and enhancing our shareholder returns,” Gohar said.

KUDOS

SODIC x Educate Me: SODIC has a new video out (watch, runtime: 3:51) highlighting its work with the awesome educational charity Educate Me. Founded by star basketball player (and successful engineer-turned-social entrepreneur) Yasmin Helal back in 2010, Educate Me operates a community school in Talbeya, Giza and runs training and development programs for both public school teachers and students across a number of governorates. It also offers education consultancy services to a range of organizations.

Ipsos named (pdf) Jumia as the most influential online retailer in Egypt and the country’s sixth most influential brand overall. Rounding out the top five of the most influential brands in Egypt: Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Samsung.

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LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

El Sisi says he hopes global crisis ends soon: “I hope that the current global crisis driving oil prices up near USD 120 a barrel end soon, so that oil prices do not increase further,” President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said in a televised speech to mark mothers’ day (watch, runtime: 41:30). The Russia-Ukraine war has sent commodity and oil prices spiraling over the past month, with oil reaching levels far beyond the USD 65 assumed in this fiscal year’s budget. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly directed his government to “restructure” the draft FY 2022-2023 budget. Al Hayah Al Youm also aired the speech (watch, runtime 41:25) while Masaa DMC (watch, runtime 1:23) gave it coverage.

Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad made an appearance on our airwaves last night to talk about the potential IMF program (more details in our Economy section above).

Egypt’s request for IMF support does not mean that we’re facing a major crisis, he said in a phone-in with Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime 17:01). The situation is a lot better than it was in 2016, he added. The goal is to maintain the economic growth and development rates we have achieved since then, Saad added.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

It’s all about the IMF in the foreign press this morning: We have the full story in this morning’s news well, above.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

INFLATION WATCH- Edita Food Industries has raised prices for some of its products by EGP 1-2, it said (pdf) yesterday. Products in its baked goods line that were previously priced at EGP 4 will now sell for EGP 5, while products previously priced at EGP 5 will now sell for EGP 7. Edita’s Freska line will now sell for EGP 3 from EGP 2 previously.

ALSO- Shoes and leather production has reportedly decreased by up to 50% due to an “exaggerated” rise in input costs, Al Shorouk reports. Factory owners have filed complaints due to their inability to cope with the recent cost increases, which the head of the leather division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries says have amounted to 15-30% in recent weeks.

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

  • Digital healthcare platform Altibbi is providing medical consultations (pdf) without charge to plasma donors in partnership with the Health Ministry’s national blood plasma project.
  • SomaBay residents are getting access to “bespoke lifestyle management and concierge services” after SomaBay signed an agreement with luxury lifestyle group Quintessentially. The partnership will give SomaBay residents access to “premium and shopping events,” restaurant booking, and travel logistics services, the statement says. (pdf)

PLANET FINANCE

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Gulf > Europe in the IPO market: Surging oil prices are fueling an IPO boom in the MENA region, helping it to surpass the European IPO market for only the second time since the global financial crisis, Bloomberg reports. Companies listing in the region have raised a combined USD 4.8 bn in proceeds so far this year, comfortably higher than the USD 3.9 bn in Europe. “The recent movements in oil prices have translated into regional investors having additional capital to deploy, which is also contributing to propping up the market,” said Andree Chakhtoura, head of investment banking at Bank of America’s MENA unit.

Twice in 13 years: The only other time that MENA IPOs have exceeded those in Europe since 2009 was in 2019 when Saudi Aramco completed the world’s biggest-ever IPO.

An IPO best served crunchy: Americana Group, which operates KFC and Pizza Hut in MENA, is in early discussions with advisors for a potential IPO in Saudi Arabia or UAE, Bloomberg reports, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. Americana Group, owned partly by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and an investment vehicle led by UAE businessman Mohamed Alabbar, has held talks with advisors, but has yet to make appointments and the future of a listing is not certain, the sources said. A rare dual listing is also possible, they said, with one of the sources estimating the IPO could raise USD 1 bn. If the IPO goes forward, it would come as the Gulf continues to see an IPO boom, with equities in the Gulf continuing to outperform other emerging markets, which have seen outflows of USD 14.3 bn since the beginning of the year.

Speaking of Gulf equities: The Middle East could see some USD 82 bn of inflows this year, as emerging market funds are bullish on the region, according to a Morgan Stanley note picked up by Bloomberg. The forecast cites “fundamental, structural, and technical reasons” that will likely see equities in the region “continue to outperform,” with the investment bank going overweight on Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait in particular.

MEANWHILE- Shuaa Capital launched a USD 250 mn sharia fund, Shuaa Venture Partners, marking the GCC's largest venture debt fund, it announced in a statement.

Up

EGX30

11,744

+0.7% (YTD: -1.7%)

Up

USD (CBE)

Buy 18.32

Sell 18.42

Up

USD at CIB

Buy 18.32

Sell 18.42

None

Interest rates CBE

9.25% deposit

10.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

12,944

+0.5% (YTD: +14.7%)

Up

ADX

9,724

+1.0% (YTD: +14.6%)

Up

DFM

3,361

+0.4% (YTD: +5.2%)

Down

S&P 500

4,456

-1.2% (YTD: -6.5%)

Down

FTSE 100

7,461

-0.2% (YTD: +1.0%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 121.60

+5.3%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 5.12

-2.2%

Up

Gold

USD 1,950.50

+0.4%

Down

BTC

USD 42,508

-0.2% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.7% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.04 bn (7.4% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 1.7% YTD.

In the green: Heliopolis Housing (+7.2%), Ezz Steel (+5.8%) and Madinet Nasr Housing (+2.9%).

In the red: Ibnsina Pharma (-2.0%), TMG Holding (-1.8%) and MM Group (-1.5%).

Most Asian markets are down in early trading this morning. It’s also a sea of red in European stock futures, while shares in the US are currently poised to rise at the opening bell.

DIPLOMACY

Egypt and Saudi Arabia agreed to boost cooperation in trade, investment, electricity, oil and petrochemicals, telecommunications, and finance during a meeting of the Egypt-Saudi working group, headed by Trade Minister Nevine Gamea and her Saudi counterpart, according to a cabinet statement. The two sides also agreed to finish the procedures for the countries’ electricity interconnection, host a joint investment conference this year, as well as activate an institutional cooperation program to help facilitate investments between the countries.

MY MORNING ROUTINE

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Ayman Hegazy, chairman and CEO, Allianz Egypt: 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 Ayman Hegazy (LinkedIn), founder and CEO, Allianz Egypt.

My name is Ayman Hegazy, I’m chairman and CEO of Allianz Egypt. I’ve been working at Allianz for almost 20 years, starting my journey as a finance manager. I’ve worked in various Allianz branches, including Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, holding positions in the finance department, until I was made managing director of Allianz’s life assurance company. In 2019, I became the chairman and CEO of Allianz’s two entities in Egypt: Allianz Life Assurance Company and Allianz Ins. Company.

My daily routine is extremely important to me: Because I’m the father of a nine-year-old boy, I usually wake up at 6am to get him ready for school. After that, I like to have a dose of physical activity. In warmer times of the year, I hit the gym before I go to work. However, because it is very cold nowadays [laughs], I walk to work instead.

I use my morning walk to work to give myself a break. The 5 km commute to work gives me time to unwind from work or home-related stresses [laughs]. I usually listen to music or podcasts before I start work at 8:30. The last interesting podcast I enjoyed delved into the development and evolution of the Metaverse.

Interestingly, my kid is the person who keeps me updated about a lot of technological developments. Aside from my child, I always strive to learn more about tech trends from my younger friends and from my friends’ sons and daughters. I believe that keeping your finger on the pulse is vital to adapt to the ever-changing tech scene.

I am personally trying to position Allianz in a way that would be attractive to younger generations. Our main target audience and customer base is currently the “30 and above segment,” but I believe that linking Allianz to the younger generation is very important. We are investing a lot of capital to further digitize all our processes, both internally and externally. Our team is also working on innovation strategies that would better understand the needs of our customers and the younger demographic.

The first thing I do when I get to work is make sure that my inbox is clear. This is almost sacred to me as an organized person. I have to be certain that nothing is pending and that any issue that was unresolved from the day before is dealt with. I read Enterprise to try and catch up on the news when I’m done with my inbox. Then, I get to my daily management meetings. I usually try to finish my meetings and daily work activities by 3pm, so I can work for a couple of hours on strategic projects. I’m also currently involved in the company’s CSR activities, including a project with UNICEF that aims to help with youth skilling and the grooming of the next generation of entrepreneurs. I’m happy that Allianz is the first insurance company in the world to partner with UNICEF.

I try to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and can say that my success rate is 50%. I usually try to finish work by 6pm, then I devote the remainder of the day to my family. After I spend time with the family, and if the need arises, I may work for a couple of hours from home.

I can never truly say that the work is ever done [laughs], but I enjoy playing sports to relax and reduce stress. I continue to play tennis, even after two knee injuries because I’m passionate about the sport.

I believe proper delegation is essential. We have a great management team that I wholeheartedly trust. So to switch off and relax, I also travel with my family knowing that everything will be running smoothly at work.

To stay focused and organized I give myself time to recalibrate and stay on top of things. Every two weeks, I have a day that is blocked out on my calendar. I don’t partake in any meetings. I use this day to ensure that all my work is in order.

I wouldn’t say that I’m the type of person that has long term goals in the traditional sense. If you had asked me five years ago what my work goals are, I wouldn’t have said that my ambition was to become the CEO of Allianz. I would have told you that my goal is to do my job in a better way. Aiming for fancy titles was never my ambition. Instead, I always try to be impactful and constantly strive to excel at whatever it is I'm doing.

One thing that I have to do everyday is spend time with my kid. If I know I will be late for any reason, I make sure to carve out extra time in the morning so I can spend more time with him.

The last great thing I read is Venture [Agreements]. The book provides practical insights into venture capital strategy and structure.

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: 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.

15 February-15 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): ITIDA’s Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center is organizing the first Metaverse Hackathon.

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: Contracts for last two phases of Egypt’s USD 4.5 bn high-speed rail line to be signed.

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.

Mid-March: Bidding for the construction of Anchorage Investments’ petrochemical complex in the Suez Canal Economic Zone starts.

14 March-30 June: The “Escape to Egypt” exhibition at the Coptic Museum, in celebration of its 112th anniversary.

24 March (Thursday): GB Auto Extraordinary General Assembly (pdf).

24 March-1 April: Ahlan Ramadan Supermarket Expo, Cairo International Convention Center.

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).

28 March (Monday): The court hearing for a case brought by Arabia Investments Holding (AIH) against Peugeot has been postponed until 28 March.

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 Meetings, 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.

1 May (Sunday): Suez Canal Authority raises tolls for different vessels.

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.

3Q2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release first financing product.

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

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

Early July: Polish President to visit Egypt.

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.

August: Work to extend the capacity of the Egypt-Sudan electricity interconnection to 300 MW to be completed.

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.

4-6 November: The Autotech auto exhibition kicks off at the Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

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.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

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