Tuesday, 26 April 2022

AM — Companies are lining up to invest bns building green fuel plants in the SCZone

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people, and welcome to a very short workweek. We hope your Easter / Sham El Nessim / Sinai Liberation long weekend was fantastic — and that you, like us, are looking forward to Eid.

Where did we leave things off last week? We took a publication holiday last Thursday to sleep in after celebrating our company iftar (as is our tradition each year). When we last had the privilege of writing you, the IMF had downgraded its global growth expectations (but thought Egypt would be okay-ish), CIB’s new Emirati shareholder had given management the thumbs-up, and Vodafone Egypt had bought 10% of e-payments platforms Bee and Masary.

Where are we now in time and space? Let’s start with some things you need to keep your eye on this week:

WATCH THIS SPACE #1- The IMF / World Bank Spring Meetings came to an end on Sunday ⁠— and there has been no word on how Egypt’s talks with the Fund for a new programme are progressing. The Finance Ministry issued a boilerplate statement following talks between Mohamed Maait and IMF head Kristalina Georgieva last week that gave little away. Georgieva said ahead of the meetings that the Fund would discuss the problem of Egypt’s rising debt levels.

WATCH THIS SPACE #2- Details on the state privatization program to be announced after Eid: The government is set to announce its strategy to privatize state-owned firms and boost private-sector participation in the economy at a press conference after the Eid Al Fitr holiday, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said at last week’s cabinet meeting, according to a statement. The “state ownership policy document” — which will act as a roadmap to reduce the state’s involvement in the economy — will “empower the private sector and regulate the state's presence in economic activity to complement the governmental reforms adopted by the Egyptian state,” Madbouly said. The government has previously signaled it will bring new assets to market, including fresh IPOs; sales of additional stakes in already-listed, state-controlled companies; and shares in military-owned companies.

Military firms up first? It should come as no surprise that two of these companies could be bottled-water maker Safi and filling station operator Wataniya, Sovereign Fund of Egypt chief Ayman Soliman told Bloomberg Asharq. Steps have been taken to prepare the two military-owned companies for public or private offerings before summer, he said.

WATCH THIS SPACE #3- It’s bad news if you like fried foods — and for mns around the world who rely on seed oils for a big portion of their daily calories. Indonesia shocked markets on Friday when it announced a ban on palm oil exports. The country accounts for more than half of the world’s palm oil, which is used in everything from chocolate to cosmetics.

Egypt is among the world’s top buyers of palm oil: Indonesia supplied almost 90% of Egypt’s palm oil in 2020, according to UN figures. Egypt had been forecast (pdf) to import nearly 1.3 mn metric tons of the stuff from October 2022 through September 2023.

The timing couldn’t be worse: The edible oils market is already reeling from the war in Ukraine, which prior to Russia’s invasion was the world’s top exporter of seed oils and the global number one producer of sunflower oil. Expect Indonesia’s ban to further fuel food price inflation globally, Bloomberg writes.

WATCH THIS SPACE #4- We could soon get news on which companies have been exempted from the new private-sector minimum wage. The National Wage Council has agreed on a mechanism to notify companies of the result of their exemption requests and will next week make one form available online to streamline the application process, according to a statement. Some 3k companies have so far submitted requests to be exempted from the EGP 2.4k minimum wage requirement that came into effect at the start of the year, the statement read. Nearly 40% of those applications have been reviewed. Firms requesting exemptions are required to present proof that they will incur losses or other evidence that their industry has faced disruptions.

We think any exemptions given should be time-limited and ideally non-renewable. If you can’t pay your people a living wage (and EGP 2.4k falls short of that mark), does your business really deserve to exist?

WATCH THIS SPACE #5-7:

  • Private management of state hospitals? The Health Ministry is considering allowing private sector companies to manage and operate some public hospitals. (Al Borsa)
  • Saudi cabinet greenlights PIF investment in Egypt: The Saudi government has approved an agreement inked last month that would see the Public Investment Fund (PIF) invest up to USD 10 bn in Egypt’s healthcare, education, agriculture and financial services sectors. The agreement had already passed the Shura Council. (SPA)
  • Microsoft’s Brad Smith was in Cairo in early April and is now linking his visit to preparations for COP27 (watch, runtime: 1:41). Expect to hear lots more about COP in the days ahead, including news from cabinet after Eid El Fitr on what’s next.

PSA #1- It looks like we’ll be celebrating Eid Al Fitr starting Monday, 2 May, according to a statement from the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics. There should be an official announcement from Dar Al Iftaa on 29 Ramadan.

Reminder: Cabinet has declared all of next week off for the public sector, while the private sector is on holiday just Sunday-Tuesday. Friends outside of Egypt: Expect plenty of folks here in Omm El Donia to bridge the week.

PSA #2- All-night Tahajjud prayers are back from 27 Ramadan until 30 Ramadan (that’s this coming Thursday-Sunday), the Awqaf Ministry announced in a statement. Tahajjud prayers were banned last year.

PSA #3- Businesses have less than a week to submit their corporate tax returns. Companies with financial years ending 31 December have to file their returns by Saturday, 30 April.

PSA #4- Thanaweya Amma final exams have been pushed two weeks, and will now start on 26 June instead of 11 June, Education Minister Tarek Shawki said in a presser (watch, runtime: 12:01). The minister didn’t disclose any reason for the postponement. Students will be tested on pass / fail subjects — including religious education, civics, and economics and statistics — on 20 and 21 June.

SO, WHEN DO WE EAT? You’ll be breaking your fast at 6:29pm CLT this evening in the capital city, and fajr prayers are at 3:43am.


THE BIG STORY ABROAD- Russia ups the nuclear ante after US moves the goalposts: The US hopes not only to reverse Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but also “to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after an official visit to Kyiv. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hit back, telling state television that the risk of the Ukraine conflict sparking a nuclear WW III is “serious, real” and should not be underestimated. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Reuters have more.

MEANWHILE IN FRANCE- More Macron: Emmanuel Macron will serve another five-year term as French president after he defeated far-right National Rally opponent Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s runoff vote, becoming the country’s first president to gain re-election in 20 years. France24 has all the details.

MACRON’S EGYPT TIE-IN: Alexandrian mezzo-soprano Farrah El Dibany sang La Marseillaise, France’s national anthem, on stage immediately after Macron’s victory speech (watch, runtime: 2:18) with the the Eiffel Tower in the background. El Dibany is with l’Opera National de Paris.

enterprise

*** It’s Going Green day — your weekly briefing of all things green in Egypt: Enterprise’s green economy vertical focuses each Tuesday on the business of renewable energy and sustainable practices in Egypt, everything from solar and wind energy through to water, waste management, sustainable building practices and how you can make your business greener, whatever the sector.

In today’s issue: The second part of our look at the final IPCC reports, the last studies to be released before COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh and the end products of a years-long assessment cycle. We take a look at what the scientists say about how the environment is set to change in the coming years and decades, and how to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change in Egypt and beyond.

enterprise

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GREEN ECONOMY

Egypt signs green energy agreements

Egypt has signed major agreements with international companies to produce green energy in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) in a step that could help turn the zone into a green energy hub. French energy giant EDF Renewables and Emirati energy firms AMEA Power and Masdar have agreed to establish facilities producing green forms of energy including hydrogen and ammonia, the cabinet said in separate statements last week (here, here and here).

#1- EDF Renewables will build a USD 3 bn facility to produce green fuel for ships alongside local firm ZeroWaste and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE). The Ain Sokhna-based plant will eventually produce 350k tons of fuel each year but will have a 140k-ton production capacity in the initial phase. Construction of the plant will begin in 2024, with operations slated to begin in 2026.

#2- AlNowais’ AMEA Power will partner with the SFE and other government agencies to establish a facility to produce green ammonia. The plant make 235k tons of ammonia a year during the initial phase, with production set to increase to 390k tons at a later date. Construction will begin by the end of this year, with the project set to come online by the end of 2025.

#3- A consortium of Emirati renewable energy company Masdar and Hassan Allam Utilities will establish green hydrogen plants that can produce up to 480k tons of green hydrogen a year. The first facility will produce 100k tons of e-methanol annually to use as green fuel for ships, the cabinet quoted Hassan Allam Holding CEO Amr Allam as saying. The plant is set to become operational by 2026. The consortium also plans to expand electrolyser facilities to up to 4 GW by 2030 to produce 2.3 mn tonnes of green ammonia to export as well as supply green hydrogen to domestic industries, he added.

Who owns what: The cabinet didn’t provide a breakdown on the ownership of the plants but SFE head Ayman Soliman told Bloomberg Asharq last week that the fund will own 15-20% of each.

Green energy projects in the SCZone have been all the rage lately: Earlier this month, the SFE, Norway’s Scatec, Nassef Sawiris-backed ammonia producer Fertiglobe and Orascom Construction signed an agreement to build and operate a planned 100 MW green hydrogen plant in Ain Sokhna. The project is set to come online by 2024, making it Egypt’s first operational green hydrogen plant. This came only a few weeks after Scatec announced plans to build a 1 mn ton-per-year green ammonia plant in the zone.

BACKGROUND: Egypt is pushing a strategy to channel bns of USD of investment to create a local green energy industry amid a rising international interest in energy sources such as green hydrogen. Cairo’s plans have attracted major global players seeking investments in the sector in the country.

Head to our explainer here for everything you need to know about green hydrogen and what Egypt plans to do with it.

INVESTMENT WATCH

Honeywell eyes USD 200 mn worth of investments in Egypt

US conglomerate Honeywell is looking to invest around USD 200 mn in petrochemicals and the production of green fuels for aircraft in Egypt, the company’s North Africa head Khaled Hashem said in a meeting with Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, according to a statement by the ministry released on Friday. Egypt’s location could see it become a pivotal center linking Europe to the Middle East in green fuel projects to supply ships and produce hydrogen and ammonia, Hashem said.

A local manufacturing tie-in? Honeywell is also looking to work with the oil ministry to install devices to monitor warehouses and to manufacture some equipment for the project locally, which would save around 20-30% of the production cost, Hashem said.

Honeywell is eyeing a bigger green footprint in Egypt: The company wants to increase its role in Egypt’s petroleum sector and take part in strategic projects, with a particular interest in green projects, the statement said. Honeywell is looking to provide technology including carbon capture and storage and contribute to climate-friendly initiatives ahead of COP27, which is taking place in Sharm El Sheikh this November.

Honeywell has been working on several high-profile projects in Egypt over the past few years, including implementing the new capital’s smart city management system alongside Etisalat.

ECONOMY

S&P, Fitch ratings affirm credit rating at BB, B+, say outlook stable despite Russia-Ukraine war

S&P and Fitch Ratings have both affirmed Egypt’s BB and B+ credit ratings with a stable outlook, despite surging food and energy prices caused by the war in Ukraine putting pressure on the country’s finances, the two ratings agencies said last week (here and here). The agencies attributed their affirmed outlook and rating to the government’s policy response and the likely influx of external support.

What they said: “The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the Egyptian authorities’ policy response, alongside significant external support, should prevent a material deterioration in external and fiscal positions due to rising commodity prices,” S&P Global wrote in its note on Friday. Fitch added in its report that the rating was supported by Egypt’s “large economy with robust growth and strong support from bilateral and multilateral partners.”

A helping hand from the Gulf: “GCC support and a new IMF programme will support investor confidence, in our view,” Fitch wrote, adding that it expects talks with the IMF to result in a new financing package from the lender. Saudi Arabia has already deposited USD 5 bn with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and the Saudi sovereign wealth fund is looking to invest USD 10 bn in Egypt’s healthcare, education, agriculture and financial services sectors. Meanwhile, the government has received USD 1.8 bn from Abu Dhabi after ADQ purchased state-held stakes in several listed companies, and Qatar has pledged to invest USD 5 bn in Egypt.

The rate hike + EGP devaluation helped preserve our FX reserves: The devaluation of the EGP in March, along with the CBE’s 100-bps interest rate hike, helped preserve reserves, S&P wrote, while our inclusion in the JPMorgan GBI-EM bond index should help “reduce volatility in portfolio flows by shifting some investment to passive management, generating lower yields and increasing demand for longer-dated debt.”

The government is likely to cover higher wheat prices by “using exchange rate and interest rate policy to manage economic adjustments alongside external funding support from bilateral and multilateral parties,” S&P wrote. The government said in early March that rising wheat prices would cost it an additional EGP 15 bn this fiscal year, penciling the cost in at USD 350 per ton. Wheat prices soared almost 20% in March alone, as the war disrupted exports from major exporters Russia and Ukraine.

Outlook good for debt-to-GDP ratio: “We expect government debt/GDP to fall to about 91% in FY 2021-2022, from 92% the year before and to remain on a slight downward trend, despite the impact of currency devaluation,” Fitch wrote, noting that dampened growth amid higher interest rates could present a risk to debt dynamics. The government had been planning to bring down the debt-to-GDP ratio to below 90% in FY2022-2023 and 82.5% by June 2025 — but that was before the Russia-Ukraine war started to hit government finances.

Inflation will continue to rise, and further interest rate hikes are likely: Both Fitch and S&P expect inflation to continue to rise throughout the year, as the EGP devaluation adds to inflationary pressures. Fitch forecasts inflation hitting 10% in FY 2021-2022, and 12% in the next fiscal year. “In our view, the CBE is likely to raise interest rates further to maintain positive real policy rates, tame inflation, and support the EGP and attractiveness of local-currency assets,” the agency wrote. “We assume a further 300 bps in rate rises by FY 2023-2024.”

The two agencies predict slower economic growth: Fitch forecasts 6% economic growth in FY 2021-22 and 4.5% growth in FY 2022-2023, while S&P pegged growth at a slightly lower 5.7% for the current fiscal year. S&P’s forecast tallies with the government’s recent revision, which was attributed to the impact of the war in Ukraine.

Current account deficit to narrow to 4% of GDP in FY 2021-2022: Both Fitch and S&P expect the current account deficit to narrow to USD 18 bn during the current fiscal year, down from USD 18.4 bn in FY 2020-2021. Tourism receipts will continue to rise despite the loss of two of our biggest tourist destinations. S&P also expects further mitigation due to higher remittances from Egyptians in the GCC benefiting from the spike in oil prices. Fitch expects the deficit to narrow further to 3.5% of the GDP in FY 2022-2023, while S&P expects it to reach 3% by 2025.

ECONOMY

IMF expects slimmer narrowing of Egypt’s budget deficit this fiscal year

Egypt’s budget deficit is expected to narrow to 6.8% by the end of the current fiscal year, the IMF said in its latest Fiscal Monitor Report (pdf). This is 0.5 percentage points higher than the IMF’s previous forecast for FY 2021-2022, which penciled in a 6.3% deficit. The deficit stood at 7.3% last fiscal year.

Looking ahead: The Fund’s latest report also sees a wider deficit than was previously anticipated in the coming years. Next fiscal year’s deficit is now expected to narrow to 6.1% (up 0.6 percentage points from the previously-forecast 5.5%), before widening to 7.1% in FY2023-2024. The IMF then expects the deficit to narrow gradually over the following three fiscal years to hit 5.6% in FY2026-2027.

Our primary surplus is now expected to be slightly thinner, coming in at 1.3% of GDP in FY2021-2022, down from a previously forecast 1.7%. The IMF sees our primary surplus picking up in the next fiscal year to record 1.9% of GDP.

On the upside, the IMF sees government revenues coming in higher than previously expected: Revenues are now forecasted to rise to 21.4% of GDP by the end of the current fiscal year in June, marking an upwards revision of 0.4 percentage points. Revenues are expected to more or less hold steady through FY 2026-2027, according to the report.

State spending is also expected to be higher than earlier projections, with the Fund anticipating spending rising to 28.2% of GDP in FY 2021-2022. The IMF had previously expected spending to come in at 27.4% this fiscal year. The report has also revised upwards its projections for state spending for the next four fiscal years.

The country’s debt is going to be a bit higher than expected: Gross debt for FY 2021-2022 is now penciled in at 94.0%, up 4.5 percentage points from the IMF’s October figures. This is slightly higher than last fiscal year’s debt figure, which recorded 93.5% of GDP. However, debt is expected to fall at a faster pace each subsequent year until FY 2026-2027, when it is set to reach 80.7%.

These projections come on the heels of the IMF expecting Egypt to buck the global trend of slowing economic growth, revising upward Egypt’s GDP growth for the current fiscal year by 0.3 percentage points to 5.9% in its April World Economic Outlook report. The economy grew at a 3.3% clip in 2019-2020. A poll of economists by Reuters last week has 2021-2022 growth rising to 5.3% this year, before tempering slightly to 5.2% in 2022-2023 and 5.0% in 2023-2024.

IPO WATCH

Abu Auf pushes IPO plans to 2H 2022 on war worries

Healthy food brand Abu Auf’s parent company AUF is pushing its planned EGX debut to the second half of 2022, CEO Ahmed Auf told Enterprise. The company had initially planned to IPO on the exchange during the second quarter, but fallout in emerging markets from the war in Ukraine has caused the company to delay the sale, he said. “Choosing the right time is extremely important,” Auf told us, adding that the company will wait until conditions improve before pulling the trigger on the listing.

Background: The company announced last year its plans to offer up to 49% of its shares on the EGX. It expects the sale to raise some EGP 2.5 bn, Bloomberg Asharq reported last week. EFG Hermes is quarterbacking the transaction.

AUF has been getting investor attention as of late: Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ subsidiary Agthia, which last year acquired Ismailia Agricultural and Industrial Investments, is said to be in talks with Abu Auf’s parent company AUF on a potential stake sale, according to local media reports on which Abu Auf has declined to comment. The reports say the potential transaction is connected with AUF’s EGX listing plans.

STARTUP WATCH

UAE-based fintech platform FlexxPay to make Egypt its third market

FlexxPay lands in Egypt: UAE-based fintech platform FlexxPay is expanding to Egypt, it announced in a press statement (pdf) last week. The company, which provides flexible salary payment services, is already active in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and is now making Egypt its third market with the opening of an office at the Greek Campus in Downtown Cairo. FlexxPay did not respond to Enterprise’s questions about the specifics of its launch or its targets.

About FlexxPay: Founded in 2020, the platform provides businesses and employees with an instant pay platform, instead of the traditional pay cycle. The app allows employees to manage their salaries with budgeting and savings tools.

The more, the merrier: FlexxPay’s entry to Egypt comes as more fintech players widen their presence in the country. Last week, China-backed fintech player OPay received preliminary approval from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to issue pre-paid cards in partnership with Masria Digital Payments (MDP). Other Africa-focused fintechs such as Churpy and ImaliPay have said recently they are preparing to set up shop in Egypt.

IN OTHER STARTUP NEWS–

Local fintech and NBFS player Noqood Holding and subsidiary Kash Now have launched their services, the company said in a press release (pdf) last week. Noqood founding partner and MD Abdelrahman Ali said the launch aims to create “an active entity in non-banking services and investing in financial technology aimed at startups and [SMEs].” The group’s other subsidiaries include: Noqood Fintech, Noqood Technology Solutions and Noqood for Electronic Payments Solutions. Kash Now offers financing services for businesses including advance salary payments and corporate cards.

COMMODITIES

Our first shipment of Indian wheat sets sail soon

We’re getting our first shipment of Indian wheat soon: Around 55k tonnes of Indian wheat will be loaded from India’s Kandla Port for shipment to Egypt on Friday, Argus Media reports, citing line-up data. No details were given on the price paid in the private-sector purchase, which comes less than two weeks after Egypt added India to its list of wheat suppliers.

Indian wheat costs less than European grain — but it’s more expensive to ship: While Indian wheat currently trades at around two-thirds the price of the latest shipments Egypt’s state grains buyer secured from France, Russia and Bulgaria, freight costs stand at around double those for Black Sea supplies, one trader told Reuters. The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) purchased Russian wheat at USD 460 per ton including freight, USD 20 lower than Bulgaria’s offer and USD 34.25 down from the price of French wheat, according to Argus Media.

BACKGROUND- The Madbouly government has been working on diversifying wheat imports amid a squeeze on prices in recent months and has stepped up its efforts since Russia’s war in Ukraine sent prices soaring yet higher and cut off Ukrainian shipments. We usually source north of 80% of our imported grain from the two Black Sea countries. India is making moves to fill the gap in global wheat supply, with its grain exports estimated to have hit a record 8.5 mn tonnes in the marketing year that ended in March, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

RUSSIAN WHEAT BUCKS THE WAR-

Russian wheat exports are set to almost quadruple in April despite disruption caused by its war in Ukraine, according to Argus Media, citing line-up and global trade data. The country is on track to export nearly 3.2 mn tonnes of wheat, nearly four times last April’s exports of 801k tonnes.

This is the second consecutive month during which Russia saw year-on-year rises in exports: Russia boosted wheat exports by 60% in March, exporting some 1.7 mn tonnes with shipments running at a “rapid” rate in the second half of the month after an initial slowdown in February, as most challenges with payments and shipping vessels were resolved.

ENERGY

Electricity subsidies live on

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT – Electricity subsidies haven’t been phased out. Electricity is and will continue to be subsidized by the state until the planned phase-out in 2025, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker was quoted as saying by Al Borsa yesterday. His comments came after Bloomberg Asharq reported that the government had spent nothing on electricity subsidies over the past two fiscal years, citing a government document.

Subsidies are paid to electricity plants and will cost the state treasury some EGP 76 bn over the next five years, Shaker reportedly said, adding that the state will continue to support low-income citizens to pay their power bills even after prices are fully liberalized.

Phasing out power subsidies has been on the agenda for years: The government first raised electricity prices back in 2014, and two years later committed to implementing further cuts to power subsidies under the three-year, USD 12 bn IMF programme in 2016. It originally planned to fully eliminate subsidies by July 2022, but decided in 2020 to push the date to the same month in 2025 (pdf) to give state-owned companies more time to adjust as part of planned split of the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company from the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC). Prices rose by up to 26% last July, 16-30% in 2020 and by an average of 15% in 2019.

EARNINGS WATCH

Real estate giant SODIC’s bottom line more than doubled y-o-y in 1Q 2022 to reach EGP 226 mn, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues for the quarter came in at EGP 1.19 bn, rising 40% y-o-y.

Meanwhile, our friends at the upmarket real estate developer delivered record first-quarter gross contracted sales in terms of both number and value of units sold. The company sold 573 units during the January-March period, doubling its gross contracted sales to EGP 3.74 bn from the same period last year. SODIC delivered 165 units during the quarter (42 in its West Cairo projects, 116 in its East Cairo projects, and seven in its North Coast projects).

The positive results point to a good year ahead: “We believe these results, in addition to our leading brand equity, diversified product offerings, and disciplined approach to management, put us on track to deliver another record year of growth for SODIC despite the economic headwinds and inflationary backdrop,” said Managing Director Magued Sherif.


Integrated Diagnostics Holdings’ (IDH) 4Q 2021 net income rose 47% y-o-y to EGP 345 mn, according to its earnings release (pdf). Revenues rose 48% during the quarter to EGP 1.46 bn. The company’s bottom line jumped 145% in 2021, hitting an all-time high of EGP 1.49 bn. Full-year revenues nearly doubled y-o-y to EGP 5.23 bn.

Revenues in Egypt — IDH’s home market — rose 89% y-o-y in 2021 to EGP 4.11 bn “on the back of solid growth in both patient and test volumes,” the release says. This growth was underpinned by covid-19 tests as well as conventional testing, alongside IDH’s house call service, which saw its revenues nearly double last year to contribute almost 23% of the company’s revenues in Egypt.

Heading into 2022, IDH is looking to capitalize on its leading market position in Egypt and Jordan, with an eye on rebounding appetite for conventional testing “as patients’ focus shifts back to conventional healthcare as the threat of covid-19 subsides,” CEO Hend El Sherbini said.


E-payments giant Fawry’s net income fell 59% y-o-y in 4Q 2021 to EGP 27.8 mn, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). This came despite revenues rising 37% y-o-y to register EGP 467.3 mn. Fawry’s full-year bottom line dipped 5% y-o-y to EGP 177.2 mn, with revenues rising 34% y-o-y to EGP 1.66 bn.

The revenue growth came on the back of expanding microfinance and banking services, in what the fintech darling’s CEO Ashraf Sabry described as “Fawry’s strongest year yet” as performance kept up momentum seen in 2020.

Net income was hit by unspecified non-recurring items as well as the impact of the company’s “non-cash ESOP program.” Setting aside those charges, net income would have risen 13.2% year-on-year to EGP 186 mn, with a net margin of 11.2% (against 13.3% in 2020).

Fawry is eyeing a 2H2022 launch for its buy-now, pay-later service, with Sabry quoted as saying “We hope to replicate our success in microfinance with a full-fledged BNPL offering.” The company is also planning to expand its nationwide POS network, its FawryPlus branches and users of its MyFawry app, which saw total downloads reach 5 mn in 2021 from 1.7 mn at the end of the previous year. The company also expects to release its MyFawry pre-paid cards soon, he said.


Obour Land For Food Industries’ bottom line rose 30% y-o-y in 1Q 2022 to EGP 90.6 mn, the cheesemaker said in an earnings release (pdf). Revenues rose 39% y-o-y to EGP 923.8 mn during the quarter.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The talk shows were all about the return of all-night Tahajjud prayers, which will be back for the final nights of Ramadan. Meanwhile, Awqaf Ministry officials did not interrupt prayers — contrary to rumors circulating on social media — at Al Maraghi Mosque in Helwan, the ministry’s Hisham Adel Aziz said in a phone call with Al Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 9:45). Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa also had the story (watch, runtime: 7:22).

PLANET FINANCE

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Looks like Elon Musk is buying Twitter after all: The Twitter board has okayed the Tesla boss’ offer to fully acquire the social media platform in an all-cash, USD 44 bn transaction, according to a statement picked up by PR Newswire. Musk will buy the shares at USD 54.20 each — a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing price on April 1 — having secured around USD 25.5 bn in loan financing, with the rest to be paid in equity. The transaction is set to close this year and will turn the social media giant into a privately held company. This comes after the richest man in the world announced his play for Twitter after buying 9% of the firm at the start of April. Musk appears to have won over the Twitter board, which initially said it would adopt a “poison pill” strategy to avert the hostile takeover.

Wall Street bounced back from earlier losses on the news: The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed up 1.3% following the announcement and the S&P 500 rebounded to end up over 1%, while Twitter shares rose 5.6%

Chinese stocks suffer after covid wave reaches Beijing: The benchmark CSI 300 Index closed almost 5% down yesterday, its biggest drop since February 2020, according to one analyst. Chinese currency and commodities markets followed suit, as traders fretted over new lockdown measures introduced in parts of Beijing following a fresh surge in covid cases in the capital. Citywide lockdowns in manufacturing center Shanghai have shuttered factories and dented the Chinese economy in recent weeks.

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

  • UAE looks to build local bond market: The UAE will begin selling AED-denominated T-bonds for the first time in May, with a sale worth AED 1.5 bn, as the country looks to build a local-currency bond market and diversify its sources of funding. (Statement)
  • Crypto exchange Kraken is the latest industry player to announce it will set up regional headquarters in the UAE and has received a license to operate the first trading platform that allows BTC trading in AED. (CNBC)

Up

EGX30

10,548

+1.0% (YTD: -11.7%)

Up

USD (CBE)

Buy 18.51

Sell 18.60

Up

USD at CIB

Buy 18.53

Sell 18.60

None

Interest rates CBE

9.25% deposit

10.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

13,543

+0.6% (YTD: +20.1%)

Down

ADX

10,043

-0.9% (YTD: +18.3%)

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DFM

3,654

-0.8% (YTD: +14.3%)

Up

S&P 500

4,296

+0.6% (YTD: -9.9%)

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FTSE 100

7,381

-1.9% (YTD: -0.1%)

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Euro Stoxx 50

3,758

-2.2% (YTD: -12.6%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 102.67

+0.3%

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Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 6.88

+3.2%

Up

Gold

USD 1,901.10

+0.3%

Up

BTC

USD 40,209.64

+1.5% (as of midnight)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 1.0% during Thursday’s session on turnover of EGP 968 mn (6.3% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 11.7% YTD.

In the green: Madinet Nasr (+6.6%), Ezz Steel (+5.3%) and EFG Hermes (+4.8%).

In the red: CIRA (-2.7%), Eastern Company (-1.8%) and Misr Fertilizers (-0.8%).

DIPLOMACY

Jordanian and Emirati leaders discuss cooperation, current affairs with El Sisi in Cairo: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Cairo on Sunday, according to an official statement. The three leaders discussed their ongoing cooperation, regional developments — including the importance of restoring calm in Jerusalem following recent Israeli-Palestinian violence — and international events, in particular the need to make sure the Russia-Ukraine conflict does not eacalate further, Ittihadiya said.

greenEconomy

It’s crunch time if we want to avoid climate catastrophe: The latest trilogy of reports by UN climate scientists have handed the world the starkest message yet about what we’re going to have to do to avoid climate breakdown. In the final installment released earlier this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that global emissions would have to fall by 43% by the end of the decade if we are to keep global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5°C.

And it’s actually worse than the report lets on: In order to achieve that 2030 target, the report says that emissions would need to peak “before 2025 at the latest.” But in the weeks since its release, scientists have gone on record saying that language used in the report has been misinterpreted by global media and that emissions need to be reduced immediately.

Why didn’t the report say this? Scientists tell the BBC that it was a mixture of rigid climate models and the influence of politics. "The headline statement couldn't say emissions should have peaked already, as governments and scientists need to agree on messaging that is scientifically accurate without being policy prescriptive," one scientist told the broadcaster.

This week: In the final installment of a two-part series on the latest IPCC reports, we cover the third and final report, which looks at what we’re going to need to do to mitigate climate change. Read our coverage of the second report here.


Emissions are still rising: Greenhouse gas emissions rose about 12% during the previous decade, reaching their highest level on record. Data estimates that the world produced some 59 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019, up from 52.5 gigatonnes in 2010. The annual average through the decade was around 56 gigatonnes, up almost 20% from the average between 2000 and 2009. Emissions rose across key areas of the global economy including industry, transport, agriculture, and energy, which accounted for more than a third of total emissions.

The good (ish) news: Global emissions growth has slowed. The annual growth rate of emissions fell to 1.3% in 2010-2019, down from 2.1% in the previous decade, including in energy and industry which both saw marked slowdowns.

Only a few countries have shown sustained emission reductions: At least 18 countries have been reducing emissions for at least 10 years, with some seeing production-based emissions fall by a third or more since peaking.

Our energy sources will have to dramatically change to address that: Limiting our warming to that 1.5°C threshold will require the global use of coal, oil and gas in 2050 by some 95%, 60% and 45%, respectively, compared to 2019 levels—and that’s assuming we have some carbon capture and storage capabilities. Without carbon capture technologies — over which remain serious question marks — the cuts will need to be even deeper, requiring coal use to be completely abandoned by the middle of the century along with a 70% reduction in gas consumption, and a 60% cut to oil use.

The thing is, the current agreements don’t go far enough: The coal agreement signed last year at COP26 that was hailed as a “historic step” is unlikely to be enough to limit temperatures to 1.5°C according to the report’s findings. Just 65 countries have agreed to phase out coal usage under the agreement, which sees advanced economies fully transition away from the fuel during the 2030s and other countries by the following decade.

And the oil and gas industry is showing no signs of slowdown, especially as western governments look to transition away from Russian hydrocarbons. Since the final IPCC report came out this month, three major new oil and gas projects have been approved, including by the UK and Canadian governments.

This is going to mean stranded assets and oil being left in the ground: To limit warming to 2°C, we would need to turn our backs on some USD 1-4 tn in unburned fossil fuels and stranded assets. Keeping to the 1.5°C target will mean higher costs. In this scenario, coal assets could be stranded before the end of the currency decade and oil and gas assets by 2050.

And it’s going to cost a lot: Reducing emissions to at least half of 2019 levels by the end of the current decade will cost some USD 100 tn, according to the report.

Luckily, renewable energy has become a much cheaper alternative in recent years: The cost of solar energy has gone down some 85% between 2010-2019, while wind energy and lithium ion batteries have seen cost reductions of some 55% and 75% over the same period. Despite varying widely across regions, solar deployment has on average grown over 10x during this period and electric vehicle adoption over 100x. Improved battery technology could assist in bringing heavy duty trucks and electric rail systems more widely into the mix.

Tech advancement could also help: The report listed sensors, the Internet of Things, robotics, and AI as potential means by which energy management and efficiency could be improved in the coming years. It is also possible that these advancements might have the opposite effect and instead spur demand for more harmful goods and services, create more electronic waste and widen the digital divide, the report admits. “Digital technology supports decarbonisation only if appropriately governed,” the report says.

The transition’s impact on global growth will be relatively small: Global GDP is expected to double between 2020 and 2050 and capping warming at 2°C would only cut back on 1.3-2.7% of GDP of that figure. This will be more than made up for by the economic benefits of preventing further global warming, the IPCC believes.

There is enough money to finance the shift — accessing it is the issue: “There is sufficient global capital and liquidity to close global investment gaps … but there are barriers to redirect capital to climate action,” the report says. A lack of investment incentives, a misunderstanding of climate risk and limitations on institutional capacities are all holding back more capital from funding climate mitigation, as are high sovereign debt levels, the lack of financial resources in developing countries and weak regulatory environments.

But we still need a lot more of it flowing into this transformation: Limiting warming to 1.5 – 2°C will require investments three to six times the current USD 600 bn spent annually by governments around the world, the report says. And while total financial flows for climate mitigation and adaptation increased by some 60% between 2013/14 and 2019/20, growth has slowed since 2018 and public and private financing of fossil fuels remain greater than those for climate adaptation and mitigation.


Your top climate stories for the week:

  • Global EV sales rose 120% y-o-y in 1Q 2021, even as rising battery costs put double digit markups on price tags.
  • Natgas vehicles could get more expensive: “Most” of the companies participating in the state’s natgas vehicle swap scheme have submitted requests to raise their prices by up to 10%.

CALENDAR

OUR CALENDAR NOW APPEARS in two sections:

  • Events with specific dates or months are right here up top
  • Events happening in a quarter or other range of time with no specific date / month appear at the bottom of the calendar.

APRIL

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

April: A delegation from a major Belgian shipping company will arrive for talks on building an international shipping supply center in Egypt.

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

30 April (Saturday): Fixed customs exchange rate lifted.

30 April – 5 May (Saturday-Thursday): National holiday in observance of Labor Day and Eid Al Fitr.

Late April through 15 May: 1Q2022 earnings season

MAY

May: Investment in Logistics Conference, Cairo, Egypt.

May: General Authority for Land and Dry Ports to issue the conditions booklet for the tender to establish and operate the Tenth of Ramadan dry port.

1 May (Sunday): Labor Day.

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

2 May (Monday): Eid Al Fitr.

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.

15 May (Sunday): Last day for EGX-listed companies to file 1Q2022 earnings

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

25 May (Wednesday): The deadline for private companies to pre-register ahead of bidding for the second phase of the PPP national project to establish and operate 1k language schools.

JUNE

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.

21-22 June (Tuesday-Wednesday): Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, Cairo.

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.

30 June (Thursday): Deadline for bids for National Democratic Party HQ redevelopment contract.

JULY

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.

1 July (Friday): Official rollout of e-receipt system 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

August: Work to extend the capacity of the Egypt-Sudan electricity interconnection to 600 MW to be completed.

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

SEPTEMBER

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.

18 September (Sunday): Deadline for brokerage firms, asset managers and financial advisors to register with the Egyptian Securities Federation.

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

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

OCTOBER

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

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

1 October (Saturday): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

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

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 COP 27 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.

DECEMBER

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

JANUARY 2023

January 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.

EVENTS WITH NO SET DATE

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.

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

2Q2022: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt will invest in two companies in the financial inclusion and non-banking financial services sectors.

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

End of 2Q2022: Door for bidding for the contract to redevelop the site of the former National Democratic Party HQ to close.

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 its first financing product.

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

2023: Egypt will host the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in 2023.

**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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