Tuesday, 17 May 2022

AM — PM on-message about private sector and the economy as Egypt rolls out welcome mat for green tech delegation

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends. It is hump day, and your reward is another flood of news, so let’s jump right in:

THE BIG STORY here at home: The Madbouly government used a visit by a group of US green tech companies to continue beating the drum about its openness to private investment. It was Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly’s first meeting with the domestic and international business community since his landmark speech on Sunday.

As you’d expect at a green tech event, Madbouly emphasized our future as a regional hub for green energy and drew a line under his government’s interest in seeing growth in exports of both technologies and services. Attracting private investment in EVs, green hydrogen and carbon capture are at the top of his cabinet’s agenda, he said. Egypt has in recent weeks signed MoUs with international players covering some USD 10 bn worth of investment in green hydrogen and green ammonia.

The PM was on message yesterday: Madbouly drew a line under his government’s push to make it easier for the private sector to invest and do business in Egypt through new incentives, the sale of state assets, and regulatory reforms. Speaking with business leaders yesterday, he highlighted priority areas including energy, technology and tourism, among others.

Sentiment among those present yesterday (Egyptian and American alike) was positive. Many we spoke with emphasized that the greening of Egypt will help solve many of the country’s economic and environmental challenges. The US green tech trade mission was organized by our friends at AmCham and the US Chamber of Commerce.

The US delegation seemed receptive to the message: Among those the bulls on green tech here was US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Chief Climate Officer Jake Levine, who said the DFC has made its first equity investment in Egypt with a USD 25 mn ticket for a USD 250 mn fund that invests in local SMEs.

Egyptian startups are impressing on the global stage: Levine name dropped our friends at Shift EV as well as Breadfast and ECOnsult as examples of companies that support the green economy outside of pure energy investments.

** The meetings continue today for their third and final day.


THE ENDORSEMENT- Comida by Ken returns to Cairo today for its second season built around a six-course seasonal menu. Dates start today and run through June right here in the People’s Democratic Republic of Maadi. The Dubai-born concept is a great way to plan a night out with friends, and they’re open to group bookings for 8-12 seats. Check them out on IG or get more information on the interwebs.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

It’s day five of the PSA world squash championships at SODIC’s Club S Allegria and at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. The championship, which is sponsored by CIB, has USD 550k at stake for each of the men’s and women’s categories, making this the biggest purse on record for a squash tourney.

The quick highlight reel so far: Women’s world No. 1 and top seed Nouran Gohar kicked off the championship on Friday by beating France’s Enora Villard, and continued to dominate on Sunday as she downed compatriot Farida Mohamed. World No. 2 and defending champion Nour El Sherbini “recovered from an uncomfortable start” to beat wildcard Kenzy Ayman yesterday. Over in the men’s category, New Zealand’s Paul Coll (who is currently the world No. 1) beat India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar in Friday’s opening match, while defending champion Ali Farag also came out on top against Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas on Saturday. You can keep pace with the full results on the PSA website here.


WATCH THIS SPACE- The Madbouly government could issue green and sustainable development bonds worth around USD 500 mn apiece next fiscal year, Vice Minister of Finance Ahmed Kouchouk told CNBC Arabia in a televised interview yesterday. The Finance Ministry in January signaled that it is looking to take to the green bond market for a second time with another USD 750 mn issuance, matching the 2020 issuance that saw Egypt debut sovereign green bonds in the MENA region.

SOUND SMART- What are these “susdev bonds” of which you speak? Cabinet last week approved a plan by the Finance Ministry to broaden its green financing framework to include sustainable development bonds, allowing the state to raise money for a wider array of social and environmental projects including the Decent Life initiative.

SIGN OF THE TIMES- Goldman Sachs is allowing its senior bankers to take as much time off as they need through a flexible vacation scheme coming into effect this month, the Financial Times reports. Employees at all levels will be required to spend at least three weeks away from work annually starting next year, including at least one full week of consecutive days off. Goldman’s work environment came under the microscope last year when a group of employees said they were working in “inhumane” conditions and clocking in extremely long hours.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

Sweden + Finland Nato membership may not raise tensions as much as we thought: Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that he would have “no problems” if the military alliance expanded to include the two Scandinavian countries, and that they would pose “no direct threat” to Russia, the Financial Times reports.

But… Any attempt to station Nato weaponry and military forces in either of the two countries would “provoke a response,” he added.

Moscow’s war in Ukraine might be turning into a military / strategic debacle, but it seems to be coming out on top in its energy stand-off with the EU:

  • The EU appears to be watering down its sanctions to keep the gas flowing: The EU has given European companies the green light to open accounts at Gazprombank and pay up in RUB, a move that will allow Moscow to circumvent sanctions. Moscow has threatened to cut gas supplies to the continent unless it is paid in local currency. As of last week, 20 buyers had opened accounts in Russia and sources indicated yesterday that Eni will join them this week.
  • The bloc’s oil embargo looks dead in the water after foreign ministers failed to convince Hungary to stop importing Russian crude. (Reuters)

More Musk-Twitter drama: Elon Musk suggested yesterday that he might try to renegotiate his USD 44 bn takeover of Twitter over concerns about the number of bots on the platform. A lower price is “not out of the question,” the tech bn’aire told a tech conference in Miami yesterday, causing Twitter’s shares to fall 8.2% by the end of trading. This comes a few days after he threatened to walk away from the acquisition unless the company comes clean on the volume of spam accounts. Musk argues that fake accounts make up at least 20% of the social media platform’s users, while Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal says the figure is below 5%. (FT | Bloomberg | Reuters | AP)

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CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

It’s interest rate week here at home: The Central Bank of Egypt will likely raise interest rates when it meets this Thursday, according to a near consensus of analysts and economists we surveyed last week. Six of the seven respondents see the Monetary Policy Committee going ahead with a rate hike to combat inflation and stem portfolio outflows, with five forecasting rates to rise by up to 200 bps.

Need to get your head around the new e-receipt system? Lynx Strategic Business Advisors are following up their recent webinar on e-invoicing with a session introducing the Finance Ministry’s new e-receipt system, which is set to officially roll out on 1 July. The webinar will feature FinMin tax development advisor Yasser Taymour, as well as reps from Talabat, Jumia, Yoco, and the World Bank. It takes place tomorrow (Wednesday, 18 May) from 12:00-1:30pm CLT. Register here.

Venture capital 101: The Egyptian Private Equity Association (EPEA) is hosting a paid crash course in all things venture capital at the Zamalek Marriott on 21-23 May. Led by Avanz Capital Egypt MD Hany Assaad, the three-day course will cover everything you need to know about Planet VC, from fund structures and portfolio-building to due diligence and valuations.

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

enterprise

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

IN TODAY’S ISSUE: We sat down on the sidelines of a visit by a delegation of US green tech companies to speak with PepsiCo global Chief Sustainability Officer Jim Andrew on how the company is integrating sustainable practices into its core operations here and abroad.

enterprise

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ECONOMY

Gov’t lowers economic growth target for next fiscal year Plus: Remittances were up again in March

The Madbouly government has cut its 2022-2023 growth forecast to 4.5% from 5.5%, a cabinet statement quoted Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly as saying yesterday. The government was predicting 5.5% growth in the coming fiscal year as recently as last week, when it published its draft budget.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has already caused the government to temper its forecast, trimming its outlook in March from its 5.7% target announced at the beginning of the year. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused global commodity prices to soar and volatility in financial markets, threatening to undermine the economy and putting pressure on the balance of payments.

This is beneath the IMF’s most recent appraisal: In April, the Fund forecast 5.0% growth in 2022-2023, down slightly from 5.6% previously.

IN OTHER ECONOMY NEWS-

Remittances from Egyptians abroad rose 2% in 3Q 2021-2022 to USD 8 bn, according to Enterprise calculations based on new central bank figures (pdf) released yesterday. Inflows over the first nine months of the year reached USD 23.6 bn, up 1% from the same period a year earlier.

This puts us on track to at least match last fiscal year’s record: Inflows reached a record USD 31.4 bn in FY 2020-2021. Egypt is one of the largest recipients of remittances in the world, and they become an increasingly important source of foreign currency, particularly following the hit to tourist revenues caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

That’s exactly what the World Bank expects: The World Bank has forecast remittances to rise 8% in 2022, from USD 32.2 bn in the previous calendar year. This would put the figure at around USD 34.8 bn.

Surging oil prices fuelling flows? Egyptian expats sent USD 3.3 bn back to the country in March, up almost 13% from March 2021 and 44% higher than February. The bulk of remittances are sent from Egyptians working in the Gulf, making them sensitive to oil fluctuations. The rise in inflows in March coincided with a surge in oil prices, which reached their highest levels since 2008 on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

M&A WATCH

Taqa Arabia expands natural gas footprint by acquiring Rosetta’s LNG arm

Qalaa Holdings’ Taqa Arabia has acquired the LNG arm of local energy firm Rosetta Energy, it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. The company didn’t disclose the value of the transaction. Enterprise was unable to reach a company representative for comment.

What’s Rosetta Energy: The Egypt-based company builds and operates small- and medium-sized liquefaction and regasification plants and works in marine and road gas transport in emerging markets in Africa and the Middle East. Rosetta delivers natural gas to off-grid customers looking to switch from diesel and other higher-emission fuels.

What this means: Rosetta will become Taqa’s LNG development and operating arm in Africa and the Middle East. “This new acquisition supports Taqa’s strategy of diversifying the scope of its energy transmission and distribution services to best cater to the growing needs of its clients,” said Taqa CEO Pakinam Kafifi.

Taqa is coming off of a solid 2021: The energy company saw its revenues rise 15% to EGP 9.1 bn last year on improving market conditions.

The company said earlier this year it could make its EGX debut in 2023. Qalaa’s plans to list 30-40% of Taqa in the first half of 2020 were derailed by the pandemic.

ENERGY

Israel wants to fill Europe’s gas supply gap — and Egypt could be key to the plans

Israel hopes to sign agreements to up its gas supply to Europe “in the coming months,” Reuters reports, as the continent continues its search for alternatives to Russian fossil fuels. Israel is set to double its gas production to reach around 40 bn cubic meters over the next few years, the newswire cites unnamed industry officials as saying.

Egypt could be key to the plans, since the quickest route to get Israeli gas to Europe is by shipping it to our liquefaction facilities for re-export, Reuters cites gas consultant Gina Cohen as saying in a report sent to the Israeli foreign ministry and the European parliament.

REMEMBER- Israel currently ships gas to Egypt via the Eastern Mediterranean Gas pipeline that runs between Ashkelon and Arish, which has an approximate annual capacity of 7 bcm. The country in March began exporting gas to Egypt via the Arab Gas Pipeline for the first time, with exports targeted at 2.5-3 bcm this year, potentially increasing to 4 bcm in the future.

We want more: The Madbouly government has been looking to increase the amount of gas it imports from Israel for re-export to Europe, and late last year signed agreements with Greece and Israel laying the groundwork to up import and re-export volumes — though it remains unclear whether we or Europe have capacity to up gas trade in the immediate future. Energean said last week that it could sell 8 bn cbm a year to us after it discovered a new gas field off the Israeli coast.

But there’s a chance Israeli gas to Europe could one day (partially) bypass us: Israel is also considering building a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility, which would give it independence from transit countries; a direct pipeline to mainland Europe like the mooted EastMed pipeline linking Israel, Cyprus, and Greece; or a shorter pipeline to Turkey, though Turkish authorities have said that won’t be a possibility anytime soon.

Why we’re still the best option: Pipeline infrastructure takes time and a whole lot of investment to build, and Israel needs to move fast if it wants to capitalize on Europe’s gas supply gap. “Israel must act as quickly as possible as the window to sign contracts and become a significant gas supplier to Europe will only be opened for a limited time,” Cohen said. Israel’s Energy Minister previously said it could take until 2024 to significantly up exports to Europe.

STARTUP WATCH

Cairo Angels expands outside of Egypt with investment in Kenyan fintech

Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund has made an investment in Kenyan fintech startup FlexPay, the VC fund announced in a statement (pdf) yesterday. This is Cairo Angels’ first investment in Africa outside of Egypt, according to the release, which did not put a figure on the size of the cheque the fund wrote.

About the company: FlexPay is a “save now, buy later” payment platform (as opposed to buy now, pay later or BNPL) that allows customers to pay for goods in installments using savings, rather than credit. “As Africa’s first merchant-embedded saving-based purchase experience that rewards customers for saving, we aim to solve the un-affordability gap for the large under-banked African population without subjecting them to the debt trap,” said founder and CEO Richard Machomba.

COMMODITIES

The local wheat harvest isn’t costing as much as we expected

We’re spending less on local wheat than previously thought: The government has so far paid EGP 8.5 bn for some 1.85 mn tons of local wheat since the start of the harvest season at the beginning of April, state news agency MENA quoted Egyptian Holding Company for Silos and Storage Chairman Sherif Bassily as saying. That means we’re spending around EGP 4.6 bn per 1 mn tons of wheat, or about 23% less the EGP 6 bn assumed in the government’s plan, which had expected to spend EGP 36 bn to purchase 6 mn tons. The local harvest will run through to the end of August, but the bulk takes places in April and May, by which time 75% of the country’s wheat will have been harvested.

WANT MORE GOOD NEWS on the commodities front? Too bad. What we do have:

Wheat prices soar on India export ban: International wheat prices surged to near record highs yesterday as traders reacted to the weekend’s news that India would ban exports of the staple commodity. Prices on the benchmark Chicago index leapt by almost the exchange limit, rising as high as 5.9% to USD 12.47 a bushel, the Financial Times reports.

Wheat prices have risen more than 60% this year, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine battered markets and disrupted supply from two of the world’s largest producers. India, which is the world’s second biggest wheat producer, was helping to plug the gap left by the loss of Ukrainian and Russian wheat, before it halted new shipments to all but the most vulnerable countries in response to rising local prices and a weaker-than-expected harvest.

Egypt only recently added India to its list of wheat suppliers, and has locked in a 500k-ton order that will not be impacted by the ban, in addition to another 55k-ton shipment that is soon due to depart from India. The government is in talks with New Delhi about being exempted from the export ban after it said last week that it would continue to ship wheat to vulnerable developing countries provided they seek permission from the government.

The UN is working to get Ukrainian wheat to global markets: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is in talks with Russia, Turkey and others to allow wheat to be exported from Ukrainian ports, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

EARNINGS WATCH

EKH reports record net income in 1Q2022

Egypt Kuwait Holding (EKH) reported record quarterly earnings in 1Q 2022 as the surge in commodity prices boosted revenues, the company said in its latest earnings release (pdf). Net income rose 66% y-o-y to USD 71.1 mn during the quarter, underpinned by strong revenue growth in fertilizers and petrochemicals which resulted in the company’s top line growing 52% to USD 291.2 mn.

The commodities squeeze was good to EKH last quarter: The company’s fertilizer and petrochemicals segment saw 58% y-o-y revenue growth, driven by rising prices and higher production volumes. Meanwhile, EKH’s North Sinai natural gas concession, ONS, saw revenues rise 12% y-o-y on the back of higher volumes and natural gas prices.

What they said: “With an integrated presence across the entire energy value chain … our group has been able to capture the upside during bullish cycles and remain resilient in the face of challenging environments,” said Chairman Loay Jassim Al Kharafi, who was promoted from his previous role as vice chair following Moataz Adel Al Alfi’s resignation in March.


Raya Customer Experience’s net income more than tripled y-o-y to EGP 6.6 mn in 1Q 2022, according to the company’s latest earnings release (pdf). The Raya Holding subsidiary’s consolidated revenues rose 38% y-o-y to EGP 252.2 mn. Growth was driven by an expansion in the company’s operations, growing business in the Gulf following its acquisition of Gulf Customer Experience (Gulf CX) last year, and increasing utilization rates at its facilities. Half of its revenues came in USD, helping the company to mitigate the impact of the recent EGP devaluation, it said.

Contact center outsourcing has been negatively impacted by “a challenging macroeconomic environment,” the release read. The pandemic dealt a hit to the high-earning segment, meaning HR outsourcing — which has higher costs and lower margins — now accounts for a greater proportion of Raya CX’s revenue breakdown. Contact center outsourcing remains Raya CX’s main business, generating 47% of all revenue in 1Q (compared to some 70% pre-pandemic), while HR outsourcing accounted for 36%. The remainder was generated by hosting.

Egyptian operations contributed the lion’s share of revenues at 84%, followed by the Gulf (12%) and Poland (2%).

Raya CX wants to expand further: “We are pushing forward with our global expansion and diversification plans. Growing our operations in Poland and strengthening our presence as a key player in the European market remains a top priority,” CEO Ahmed Refky said in the release. The company has plans to expand into a new 400-seat facility in Riyadh that is expected to start operations in 2Q 2022, Refky said, adding that the company has managed to secure “strategic contracts” in Saudi Arabia.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Last night on the airwaves was all about building violations, after fresh amendments to the Unified Building Code designed to crack down on the spread of unlicensed construction were discussed yesterday by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and other senior officials. Rep. Tarek Shoukry, the deputy head of the House Housing Committee, told Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 5:22) that the amendments would address cases where people missed the deadline to submit reconciliation requests.

REMINDER- Back in 2020, owners of illegal buildings were offered the chance to pay “reconciliation fees” to the government to legalize their buildings.

The latest tally: The state has received some EGP 22.5 bn through 2.8 mn reconciliation requests since the bill was signed into law in 2020. Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 1:46) and Kelma Akhira had coverage (watch, runtime: 13:03).

“Cancerous lesions”: That’s how Rep. Ahmed El Segni, head of the House Local Administration Committee, chose to describe the nation’s informal settlements in an interview on Ala Mas’ouleety last night (watch, runtime: 4:59).

But what about new controls? The state is currently drafting a bill on new building controls, Shoukry said (watch, runtime: 2:19). The bill will be finalized by the cabinet “within a month” before making its way to the House.

Also getting attention last night: Is the grave of famed Egyptian writer Taha Hussein under threat? Reports that Hussein’s grave could be bulldozed to make way for a new road was picked up by Kelma Akhira last night. El Hadidi spoke to Hussein’s granddaughter, who said that a red X — a mark used to earmark structures for removal — had been placed at the site. She’s urging authorities not to demolish her grandfather’s grave (watch, runtime: 4:13). Cairo governorate spokesman Ibrahim Awad denied plans to remove the grave, telling El Hadidi that the news is unfounded (watch, runtime: 1:05).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Leading the conversation on Egypt in the international business press this morning: Reuters says we’ll face challenges plugging the budget deficit thanks to rising interest rates, a weaker EGP, and volatility in emerging markets.

Human rights is still getting plenty of ink: The Independent is the latest outlet to cover imprisoned activist Alaa Abdel Fattah’s ongoing hunger strike, while Voice of America interviews the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Middle East head on the detention of journalists in Egypt. ITV, meanwhile, looks at TikTok influencers.

Lighter diversions: Female filmmakers are helping Egypt’s film industry stage a comeback following two years of disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic, CNN reports. Lonely Planet gives its rundown of Egypt’s seven most spectacular beaches, while the Guardian reports on newly declassified documents that reveal the British government’s covert “black propaganda” operations during the Cold War that sought to destabilize Egypt and other countries in the Middle East.

Also in the news:

  • The US will remove Gama’a El Islamiyya from its terror list, 25 years after it was first designated as a foreign terrorist group as it launched deadly attacks against Egyptian police through the 1990s. (Associated Press)
  • Did the Great Sphinx really close its eyes? Photoshopped images of the Sphinx closing its eyes took social media by storm over the past few days. (Gulf Times)

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

There’s plenty of banking news: The Central Bank of Egypt has joined the global Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), a network of central banks and financial regulators that aims to mobilize green finance and manage climate risks in the banking sector, it announced in a statement (pdf) yesterday. Meanwhile, Midbank has received approval from the Financial Regulatory Authority to launch (pdf) consumer finance company Mid Installments, and the National Bank of Egypt has launched (pdf) a WhatsApp service for customer enquiries.

WATCH THIS SPACE: Edita to launch two new companies: Edita’s board of directors has signed off (pdf) on a proposal from management to establish a new holding company and a EGP 15 mn micro lender.

The Anti-Money Laundering Act received a nod from the House Legislative Committee, with the bill up for discussion in the House’s plenary session on 22 May. (Ahram Online)

German rail company Vossloh will supply rail fastening systems for Egypt’s high-speed railway under a EUR 40 mn contract, the company said in a statement yesterday. The first deliveries will begin this year and continue through to 2024.

REMINDER- We’re set to sign contracts for the second and third phase of the railway with Siemens by the end of May. The German conglomerate, Orascom Construction and Arab Contractors signed a USD 4.5 bn contract with the government last September for the first phase of the line, which will run 660 km between Ain Sokhna and Marsa Matrouh and is due to open in June 2024. The later phases will link Cairo, Aswan, the North Coast and the Red Sea, running 1.8k km across the country.

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

  • Industry is safe from higher gas prices for now: There is no intention to raise natural gas prices for the industrial sector in the current period in response to rising international prices, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said yesterday. (Bloomberg Asharq)
  • AT Lease eyes EGP 1 bn+ securitization bonds: Shari’ah-compliant leasing company AT Lease plans to issue more than EGP 1 bn worth of securitization bonds this year. (Amwal Al Ghad)
  • A new authority for regulating airspace: The Official Gazette has published a presidential decree to set up the National Center for Airspace Management. (Youm7)

PLANET FINANCE

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Global growth prospects appear to be weakening after the EU cut its GDP forecast and data out of China pointed to slowing economic activity:

  • The EU has downgraded its 2022 eurozone growth forecast to 2.7% from 4% in February as the war in Ukraine takes its toll. Draft forecasts seen by Bloomberg also see inflation averaging 6.1% this year, almost double what it predicted three months ago.
  • China’s economic activity drops as covid lockdowns bite: China’s main measure of consumer activity, retail sales, plunged 11.1% y-o-y in April, while industrial production unexpectedly fell 2.9%, the FT reports, much of it on the back of the government’s covid zero policy.

MEANWHILE- Vodacom is considering a bond issuance to fund its EUR 2.34 bn acquisition of a majority stake in Vodafone Egypt which the company agreed with UK parent Vodafone Group last year, Bloomberg reports.

Down

EGX30

10,462

-0.7% (YTD: -12.5%)

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USD (CBE)

Buy 18.23

Sell 18.32

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USD at CIB

Buy 18.25

Sell 18.32

None

Interest rates CBE

9.25% deposit

10.25% lending

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Tadawul

12,915

-1.8% (YTD: +14.5%)

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ADX

9,493

0.0% (YTD: +11.8%)

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DFM

3,419

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S&P 500

4,008

-0.4% (YTD: -15.9%)

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FTSE 100

7,465

+0.6% (YTD: +1.1%)

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Euro Stoxx 50

3,685

-0.5% (YTD: -14.3%)

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Brent crude

USD 114.24

+2.4%

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Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 8.02

-0.4%

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Gold

USD 1,823.60

+0.5%

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BTC

USD 30,097

-3.8% (YTD: -35.2%)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 fell 0.7% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 817.87 mn (6.4% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 12.5% YTD.

In the green: EFG Hermes (+3.3%), MM Group (+3.1%) and Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals (+1.1%).

In the red: TMG Holding (-4.7%), Orascom Construction (-4.6%) and Orascom Development Egypt (-4.4%).

Most Asian markets are marginally in the green this morning, and shares in Europe and the US are on course to follow suit later today, according to stock futures.

AROUND THE WORLD

Lebanon elections: Hezbollah and its allied parties are on course to lose their majority in the Lebanese parliament following Sunday’s elections, three sources close to the group told Reuters. The full tally from the parliamentary elections is yet to be announced but preliminary results indicate that the Saudi-aligned Lebanese Forces (LF) Christian party made gains and will likely reverse the results of the 2018 vote that handed Hezbollah and its allies a majority. The LF said no group won a majority, potentially throwing the parliament into deadlock at a time when the country is supposed to be committing to radical economic reforms to stem the devastating economic crisis.

greenEconomy

EXCLUSIVE- How PepsiCo is integrating sustainable practices into its Egypt operations: On the sidelines of the US GreenTech business delegation yesterday, Enterprise caught up with a few business leaders who are integrating an aggressive green strategy into their Egypt operations. One of them was PepsiCo’s global chief sustainability officer Jim Andrew, who talked to us about the company’s green strategy in Egypt — PepsiCo Positive — and his impressions on the government’s plans to build a greener economy.

The strategy: PepsiCo Positive is an end-to-end business strategy that introduces sustainable practices across the value chain of the company’s operations.

Agriculture: PepsiCo has an agricultural footprint of 7 mn acres globally and aims to implement regenerative practices on all their farms by 2030. “We know that those practices generate better yields, have lower costs, and ultimately improve farmers’ livelihoods because they also reduce the risk of extreme weather events and other things,” Andrew said. The company is already working towards this target and has applied regenerative techniques on around 500k acres as of last year, he added. The implementation is very local and context-specific with new practices adopted based on the place and environment.

PepsiCo is now considering launching “demonstration farms” as well as an R&D center in Egypt, Andrew told us, saying it is a bid to show farmers what is possible.

Energy: PepsiCo aims to source 100% of their electricity in Egypt from renewables by 2030, a decade ahead of the global company’s 2040 target, Andrew said. The feasibility of the goal is somewhat dependent on Egypt’s progress in transitioning to renewable energy sources, given that conventional generation is still a huge part of Egypt’s electricity mix, he explained. This will also require the company to focus on efficiency within their factories and facilities with the main goal being to produce more with less energy usage.

Transport: PepsiCo also plans to reduce transport-related emissions by 75% by the end of the decade. This includes transitioning their vehicles to alternative fuels or by adding electric vehicles to their fleet. “Smaller vehicles are easier to electrify and many of our vehicles here are quite compact so that allows us to see real potential here,” Andrew said.

Water: Local PepsiCo factories have already made headway in reducing water usage, with the company’s Sixth of October facilities managing to reduce consumption by around 30-40%, Andrew said. These savings will also be implemented in other factories over the rest of the decade.

Waste management: Another goal is to be “zero landfill” and recycling all waste by 2030, Andrew told us. The Sixth of October facilities cut landfill waste to zero three years ago, he said.

PepsiCo’s waste management efforts could potentially lead to cooperation with the government to launch an “extended producer responsibility” or EPR system, Andrew said. An EPR sees producers given a significant responsibility for the treatment and disposal of post-consumer waste. “We know we have a responsibility for our packaging and we want to find ways to recycle it,” he said.

The government’s policy plans are giving an encouraging signal: “What’s impressive is that the government is very focused on trying to make this all happen,” Andrew told Enterprise, commenting on two days of meetings in Cairo this week. Policymakers have a clear roadmap and have underlined that they see a big role for the private sector as well, he added.

There isn’t a specific amount earmarked to be invested into these activities: Instead, the company is shifting the entire value chain so that the costs are embedded into its day-to-day operations, he told us.

The goals are directly lin to PepsiCo’s bonuses for top management: The sustainability targets are embedded into employees’ personal incentive structures. If the company doesn’t reach its goals for the year, “then there'll be some people whose bonuses may not be quite as good,” he said. It’s important to add these metrics to people’s personal responsibilities because that’s how you ultimately drive change, he added.


Your top green economy stories for the week:

  • New national emissions targets coming soon: Egypt will announce its revised national targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions within weeks, according to officials.
  • Sustainable development bonds coming soon: The Cabinet approved a plan by the Finance Ministry to broaden its green financing framework to include sustainable development bonds, allowing the state to raise money for a wider array of social and environmental projects.
  • Green energy hub: The Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) has in the past three months signed six MoUs worth a total of USD 10 bn for green ammonia + hydrogen projects in Ain Sokhna, as part of Egypt’s plans to make the local port a green energy hub.
  • US firm to build recycling facility in Fayoum: Waste management and renewable energy company Energy3 International signed an MoU with the Environment Ministry to build a recycling facility in Fayoum that will convert municipal and agricultural waste to biodiesel.
  • A new plastic alternatives factory: Environmental safety firm Okeanos signed an MoU with the gov’t to build a USD 50 mn factory that will manufacture alternatives to single-use plastics from limestone.

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.

MAY

13-22 May (Friday-Sunday): PSA World Championships, Cairo.

Mid-May: The trial period to extend the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system to air freight.

16-19 May (Monday-Thursday): HC Brokerage and Avior Capital Markets virtual conference investor conference.

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

19 May (Thursday): EFG Hermes’ general shareholders’ meeting to discuss, among several things, a capital increase of EGP 973 mn to finance the distribution of bonus shares to the company’s minority shareholders.

23 May (Monday): Lynx Strategic Business Advisors are hosting a webinar titled “Introducing Egypt’s New E-Receipt System.”

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.

30-31 May (Monday-Tuesday): Egypt Can with Industry, Cairo, Egypt.

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

31 May (Tuesday): The application deadline for ITIDA’s annual Export IT program.

31 May (Tuesday): Extended deadline for EGX-listed companies to disclose 1Q 2021 earnings.

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.

May: Egypt to sign contracts for second and third high-speed rail lines with Siemens by the end of the month.

May: Government to announce its automotive strategy by the end of the month.

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.

5 June (Sunday): GB Auto is hosting an extraordinary general assembly meeting (pdf).

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.

June: Egypt will launch a unified ticketing system for all means of transport at the Adly Mansour Interchange Station.

June: Polish President Andrzej Duda will visit Egypt to coordinate ways to ship Ukrainian wheat to Egypt amid the war in Ukraine.

JULY

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

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

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

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.

26–27 September (Monday-Tuesday): The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) at the Cairo Marriott Hotel.

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.

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