Monday, 30 May 2022

AM — ADQ to invest USD 10 bn in industrial projects in Egypt, the UAE + Jordan

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

It’s a great day for investment news, friends, with further signs that we’re deepening our business and investment ties with the rest of the Arab world (through joint investment in manufacturing and the potential sale of a big stake in EgytAlum) and with Israel (through a new logistics zone on the border).

It’s also a bad day for gearheads as statistics out overnight show the total vehicle market contracted 25% last month, well more than double the rate at which it declined in March. Our reporting suggests the slump will be even worse in May.

^^ We have more on all of this below, in this morning’s news well.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

FRA kicks off public consultations on non-bank financial services today: Public consultations on the second phase of the Financial Regulatory Authority’s (FRA) strategy to develop the non-banking financial services sector will begin today, the regulator said in a statement (pdf). The FRA has identified six key priorities for the four-year strategy including boosting use of fintech, accelerating digital transformation, achieving financial inclusion, and improving risk management.

ON THE COURT- El Gouna International Squash Open 2022 continues today and wraps on Friday. The competition features some of Egypt’s top seeds including world #1 Nouran Gohar and world #2 Ali Farag (who just took home the PSA squash championship cup). The prize pool for each of the men’s and women’s competitions is USD 180k.

Further afield: US financial markets are closed today in observance of Memorial Day, a federal holiday.


Good news for investors: The Trade Ministry is making it easier to obtain licenses for industrial land. Getting a license for industrial land will soon take just 20 days as the Trade Ministry looks to simplify procedures for investors, Minister Nevine Gamea said on Ala Mas’ouleety last night (watch, runtime: 3:04). The ministry will take over responsibility for issuing licenses and getting approvals from different authorities, she said, contrasting this to the current system which forces companies to obtain around 14 approvals before they can get a license.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

The EU is unlikely to announce fresh sanctions on Russia: A German minister has warned that the EU’s unity on sanctions against Moscow is “starting to crumble” after the bloc was unable to agree on a plan to ban Russian oil imports. (Bloomberg | FT | Reuters)

On the ground: Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy described conditions in the east of the country as “indescribably difficult” as Russian forces continued to shell Sievierodonetsk, a key city in Luhansk province. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday said that the “liberation” of the entire Donbas region is an “unconditional priority” for Moscow, indicating that Russia will continue to advance until it has total control of the two eastern provinces. (AP | Reuters | BBC)

MEANWHILE- China is making moves to ease its covid lockdowns: Shanghai will lift “unreasonable” restrictions on businesses from 1 June while Beijing reopened some public transport and non-essential businesses as infection rates fall, Reuters reports. The two cities have been placed under tight lockdowns for weeks, triggering concerns that the economy could be tipped into a recession — and that the world’s supply chains will be further snarled.

The news is driving a rebound in the Asian markets and US futures this morning: The Hang Seng and the Nikkei are both up more than 2%, while Chinese shares are seeing more modest gains. Shares in Europe are also on course to rise in early trading this morning.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

PSA- Tomorrow is the last day for EGX-listed companies to file their earnings for 1Q2022, after the Financial Regulatory Authority granted listed companies a two-week deadline extension.

Tomorrow is also the application deadline for ITIDA’s annual Export IT program. The program is designed to encourage local IT companies to boost exports while reducing related costs.

Spring conference season is in full swing this week. Among the events taking place over the next few days:

  • Egypt Can with Industry begins today and wraps tomorrow.
  • The Islamic Development Bank’s 2022 annual meetings are scheduled for this Wednesday-Saturday, 1-4 June in Sharm El Sheikh. Enterprise will be attending the annual meetings and bringing you updates from there.
  • The Islamic Corporation for the Ins. of Investment and Export Credit will hold two high-level parallel meetings on climate action and digital transformation during IsDB’s annual meetings.

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

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*** It’s Blackboard day: We have our weekly look at the business of education in Egypt, from pre-K through the highest reaches of higher ed. Blackboard appears every Monday in Enterprise in the place of our traditional industry news roundups.

In today’s issue: While strong academic performance is a fixture of acceptance requirements in educational institutions, athletic achievements among K-12 students also provide a path forward in the academic field, with similar financial perks. Sports scholarships geared towards top-performing athletes — a fixture of universities in countries such as the US and Canada — have also become available at several private universities in Egypt. Today, we give a rundown of the scholarships and financial support packages available for young athletes.

enterprise

Miss Elite will be kicking off its second edition at Somabay from 3-11 June. The international beauty pageant helps contestants showcase and present their nation’s identity, beauty, culture, tradition and ethnicity.

For more information, visit: https://misseliteworld.com/

INVESTMENT WATCH

ADQ eyes investment in Egypt, Jordan manufacturing + PM pitches UAE investors on infrastructure projects

Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ will invest USD 10 bn in industrial projects in Egypt, the UAE and Jordan as part of a partnership signed in Abu Dhabi yesterday, cabinet said in a statement, citing UAE Industry and Advanced Technology Minister Sultan Al Jaber. The ADQ-managed fund will finance large-scale projects in “key industries” that “create jobs, support growth, boost industrial production and increase exports,” Al Jaber said.

Target sectors: The fund will invest in industries of “mutual interest” to Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE, including pharma, agriculture, food, petrochemicals, metals, and textiles, Al Jaber said.

This is part of a new industrial partnership between the three countries: ADQ’s investment is designed to accelerate the joint industrial strategy signed yesterday by Egypt, the UAE and Jordan, which aims to support sustainable economic growth, increase industrial production, and strengthen regional supply chains.

Plenty of details are still “TK”: It remains unclear how much Egypt and Jordan will invest in the partnership or when the three countries plan to begin identifying projects for investment and allocating the funds.

From the PM: “The partnership can be a stepping stone for deeper cooperation between Arab countries,” Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said in a speech during the event (watch, runtime: 9:12). Madbouly told Sky News Arabia (watch, runtime: 20:35) that the agreement could help the three countries to become self-sufficient in some commodities, and said that collaboration was more important than ever in light of the war in Ukraine, which has threatened Egypt’s food security and driven up our energy bill.

ADQ has been one of Egypt’s biggest investors so far this year: The wealth fund invested USD 1.8 bn to acquire stakes in several EGX-listed companies owned by the government under an agreement to provide Egypt with emergency liquidity in response to the war in Ukraine.

Other countries are welcome to join: “We welcome our brothers from other Arab states to join us,” Madbouly told Sky News.

PITCHING EMIRATIS ON INFRASTRUCTURE-

While in the Emirates, Madbouly pitched Emirati investors on his government’s infrastructure plans. The pitch on the attractiveness of new LNG terminals and pipelines, renewable energy projects, and airports seemed to have been well-received — the head of the UAE International Investor Council (UIIC) saying that investors could invest another USD 15 bn in the Egyptian economy over the next five years.

Big plans: The government wants to attract USD 40 bn of fresh private sector investment into the country over the next four years by selling stakes in state-owned assets to local and international investors.

M&A WATCH

Gov’t could sell 20-25% of Egyptalum, potentially to an Arab sovereign fund + 25% of new state-owned hotels company will be listed on the EGX

The state plans to sell a stake in EGX-listed Egypt Aluminum (EgyptAlum) to a “strategic investor,” Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik said at a conference yesterday, according to a press release (pdf). The ministry could sell a 20-25% stake to the investor, Tawfik separately told CNBC Arabia (watch, runtime: 3:55) on the sidelines of the conference. The transaction will take place through a capital increase, Tawfik added, without providing a timeframe for the sale. The company is currently “studying” the potential capital increase, it said in a disclosure to the EGX (pdf).

Shares rose in trading: Egyptalum shares closed up 4.1% at EGP 18.21 on Sunday following the news.

Who’s buying? An “Arab sovereign fund,” Al Borsa cites Tawfik as saying at the event, without providing further details.

By “Arab,” think “Gulf.” Our friends in the Gulf are eyeing investment in private and public local firms under agreements earlier this year to provide emergency liquidity and economic support to mitigate the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund recently inked an agreement to invest up to USD 10 bn in our healthcare, education, agriculture and financial services sectors — and the Qatari wealth fund in March agreed to invest USD 5 bn here “in the coming period.” Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ has already invested USD 1.8 bn in five EGX-listed companies.

A big overhaul coming? The state-owned company is looking into an overhaul worth as much as USD 300 mn, to be financed through a combination of debt and proceeds from the stake sale. The upgrade is designed in part to help EgyptAlum maintain its 320k-ton annual production capacity. The company has tapped engineering giant Bechtel to conduct a feasibility study for the upgrades.

The sale comes as the Madbouly government launches its privatization strategy, which aims to attract USD 40 bn of fresh foreign investment into the country over the next four years by selling stakes in state-owned assets to local and international investors. The final text of the state ownership policy document which details the strategy is expected sometime this week.

25% OF NEW HOTEL CO. FOR SALE?

The state will offer via initial public offering a 25% stake in the company it will create through a merger of seven or eight state-owned hotels, according to the press release. The state is currently working on restructuring the hotels, which have not yet been named, in preparation for the merger. The new entity will be offered to investors in coordination with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt in the coming months.

ALSO FROM THE CONFERENCE:

  • The gov’t is in talks with an unnamed Indian investor to manufacture 10-15 pharma raw materials in a bid to reduce imports and localize the pharma industry, Tawfik said.
  • New EV partner to come in July? State-owned El Nasr Automotive will in July sign two contracts — one for licensing and another for manufacturing — with an unnamed Chinese company to locally assemble electric vehicles (EVs). We had been expecting final contracts to be signed in April.

M&A WATCH

Eastern to acquire 24% of Egypt’s second tobacco manufacturer

It’s official: Eastern will acquire a quarter of Egypt’s second tobacco manufacturer after the company’s general assembly approved the EGP 100 mn purchase of a 24% stake in Philip Morris’ United Tobacco, according to a disclosure to the EGX (pdf).

United will soon be Egypt’s second cigarette manufacturer: The acquisition is part of the Philip Morris subsidiary’s agreement with Eastern Company to locally manufacture cigarettes. United Tobacco was the only company to bid in last year’s tender after other companies complained that the conditions of the tender would establish a monopoly over the local market.

AUTOMOTIVE

Car sales fall 20% in April

Passenger car sales fell for the second month running in April as economic headwinds and import restrictions hit the sector, industry data showed yesterday. Figures released by the Automotive Information Council (AMIC) — the industry association to which most distributors report sales — showed that sales collapsed almost 20% y-o-y last month, with distributors selling 12.9k cars compared to 16k in April 2021.

The drop in sales hit every category in the industry: Total sales fell 25% to 16.6k as bus and truck volumes dropped significantly. Bus sales were down 40% on last April, while truck sales fell 38%.

Sales had also declined in March: Distributors saw total volumes fall 9% in March, as sales of passenger cars, trucks and buses slipped.

A PERFECT STORM: The automotive sector is being buffeted by a multitude of headwinds, including a lack of financing for imports, rising inflation, component shortages and the EGP devaluation in March.

As many as 13 global car manufacturers are no longer shipping to Egypt until we can clear up this mess, suggesting May figures are likely to come in substantially worse than April’s. Imports are slowing down in large part because of a decision to force distributors to use letters of credit (L/Cs) rather than documentary collection to finance imports. Industry sources told us last week that they haven’t been able to obtain L/Cs, prompting their overseas suppliers to diver orders from Egypt to other markets that are functioning normally. On top of that, there is reportedly a backlog of around 29k vehicles that are waiting to be released from Egyptian ports. Top industry players we spoke with don’t expect the situation to resolve until the middle of 2023.

REMEMBER- Distributors now have to compensate consumers for being unable to deliver vehicles, per a decision by the Consumer Protection Agency last week. Customers who made a down payment on a vehicle prior to 12 April, but who have not received their car, are entitled to receive a refund from the dealer plus 18% interest. Those who made partial payments before 12 April will see the price rise by 5% while people who paid 100% up front will not be charged extra.

Buyers also have the option of not taking a refund and instead working out a better arrangement with the distributor to whom they paid a down payment, though some dealers are pushing hard for buyers to simply take the refund.

PUBLIC POLICY

Bread subsidies aren’t changing in the near future, El Moselhy says

Scrapping bread subsidies for banknotes is shelved for now, El Moselhy tells Senate: The Sisi administration’s previously-floated plan to replace subsidized bread with cash transfers is not going to happen anytime soon, Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy told the Senate yesterday. “We can begin to consider this policy some time after the crisis is over, but at the moment we can’t change the system,” the minister said, stressing that “the government still believes that subsidized bread is still very important for low-income households.” El Moselhy’s statement came as a response to a request from Senate Agriculture and Irrigation Committee Chairperson Abdel Salam El Gebaly to begin implementing the switch now.

Bread subsidies are still a big line item in the state budget: The proposed FY 2022-2023 budget, which Finance Minister Mohamed Maait presented to the House of Representatives earlier this month, penciled in EGP 90 bn for food subsidies next fiscal year, rising slightly from EGP 86 bn allocated for the current fiscal year. MPs have suggested that the state should be upping its spend on commodity subsidies to help contain the impact of rising food prices.

REFRESHER- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi first put forward the prospect of lifting or otherwise reworking bread subsidies last year — before the war in Ukraine sent shockwaves through global food markets. El Moselhy had said at the beginning of the year that the government would make a final decision on how subsidies would be reworked by the end of March, saying at the time that there were several scenarios under consideration.

Bread price caps aren’t changing, but the state isn’t planning to impose controls on other commodities: The minister also turned down a separate proposal from Sen. Ahmed Salah El Din to impose price controls on basic commodities, which the senator suggested is “necessary to tighten control on the black market and prevent retail traders from exploiting the current crisis.” El Moselhy stressed that Egypt is a “market economy that is regulated by the forces of supply and demand” and that we left behind the era of state-imposed price controls in the 1960s and 1970s. The government imposed price controls on unsubsidized bread in March as a temporary, three-month measure, El Moselhy said.

The cornerstone of the government’s food commodity strategy is to build reserves: The Sisi administration’s policy of maintaining a six-month strategic reserve of basic commodities will continue to be implemented, particularly as it has proven successful in stabilizing prices, El Moselhy said. This policy, among other decisions, has helped the country to successfully absorb the shock of the global food crisis triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war, the minister said. “For example, the price of sugar has only increased EGP 3 per kg; this was largely thanks to our maintaining a six-month stock of the commodity.”

Part of that has been a major spending push on expanding storage capacity: As part of its strategic reserve targets, “the government had to spend as much as USD 1.8 bn to double the country’s storage capacity of wheat and grain cereals” over the past five years, El Moselhy said. The government has so far built a national silos network with a storage capacity of 3.4 mn tons, “and right now we are planning to increase this capacity to reach 5 mn tons in 2025,” he said.

BACKGROUND- We dove into the government’s drive to increase our grain storage capacity in Hardhat.

A MESSAGE FROM

enterprise

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Get in touch with Moharram & Partners — the public policy and government affairs partner of choice of top companies operating in Egypt and the region — and leave the rest to our experts.

Learn more here.

MINING

RIP gold tenders?

The Oil Ministry will not launch new tenders to explore for gold and will instead move to the direct awarding of concessions after low turnout for this year’s bid round, Bloomberg Asharq reports, citing a ministry source. Fewer private firms bid in this year’s tender than in the 2020 bid round due to fallout from the covid-19 pandemic and a lack of “promising” areas on offer, the source said.

The results of the latest bid round were announced last week: Four miners landed licenses to explore for gold in the Eastern Desert: Ankh Resources, Sawiris-backed Akh Gold, Canadian miner Lotus Gold, and Marine Logistic. Enterprise has not been able to ascertain how many companies submitted bids.

The tender system never quite got off the ground: Eleven companies were awarded 82 gold exploration blocks in the Eastern Desert under the ministry’s first tender, launched in 2020. At the time, the ministry said it hoped to launch new tenders every four months.

Why aren’t private firms rushing to our gold? Major international exploration firms prefer other African markets over Egypt, citing a lack of facilities or an attractive regulatory environment here, former Centamin boss Youssef Al Raghy was quoted by Asharq as saying. Al Raghy praised the ministry’s move to ditch the tenders, saying that most countries don’t run bid rounds for gold exploration as they’re “not suitable” for the industry.

EARNINGS WATCH

Earnings Watch: Cleopatra Hospitals + Macro Group

Cleopatra Hospitals Group’s (CHG) net income eased 5% y-o-y to EGP 102.4 mn in 1Q 2022, according to the company’s latest earnings release (pdf). Revenues rose 1% y-o-y to EGP 636.9 mn during the quarter, despite a fall in covid-related revenues as the pandemic receded.

The pandemic is fading out of the picture: The group’s revenues from covid-related services fell 50% during the quarter due to falling infection rates, but this was offset by a 16% rise in revenues from other areas of the business, the company said. Revenues from the company’s surgery and outpatient services segments both saw strong growth during the quarter, and inpatient services continued to be the biggest contributor to overall revenues, despite falling 16% y-o-y due to declining numbers of covid patients. “We delivered revenues well in excess of EGP 600 mn, significantly exceeding pre-pandemic levels, with strong margins at all levels of profitability, above our pre-pandemic averages,” said Group CEO Ahmed Ezzeldin.

Covid-only hospitals phased out: The company’s only remaining dedicated covid facility, Queens Hospital, recorded a 38% y-o-y drop in revenue on the back of the decline in cases and will now be closed until 2023 as the company repurposes it post-pandemic.

The company predicted supply chain snarls and rising prices going into the quarter and built up its inventory ahead of time, CHG said.

Looking ahead: More expansion. “We are actively exploring growth opportunities in West Cairo to expand our capacity and footprint further,” said Ezzeldin. Renovations also continue at the group’s 200-bed East Cairo brownfield project, Sky Hospital, which it expects to complete by the end of 2023.


Macro Group saw its net income nearly triple y-o-y to EGP 30.7 mn in 1Q 2022, up from EGP 10.9 mn in the same quarter last year, according to the company’s earnings release (pdf). Revenues grew 14% y-o-y to EGP 134.9 mn as the firm raised prices and launched higher-priced products.

Why the big jump in income? The cosmeceutical firm put aside some EGP 13.9 mn of its 1Q 2021 earnings for provisions (finance-speak for a rainy day fund, or anticipated liabilities). No provisions were put aside in the first quarter of this year, according to the release.

Higher pricing boosted revenues: The group attributed the rise in revenues to a 13% annual increase in average pricing during the period and a 2% rise in sales volumes. Macro has been raising prices through “direct price hikes, product face-lifts, rebranding, and the launch of innovative higher-priced products, particularly under Macro’s premium brands,” the release read. The group introduced four new products during 1Q 2022, including its first anti-ageing skincare product — a segment in which it hopes to expand further.

REMEMBER- Macro made its EGP 1.3 bn debut on the EGX during the first quarter. One-time costs associated with the company’s IPO and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) stood at EGP 6.1 mn.

Inflationary pressures could bite soon: The devaluation of the EGP and inflation, which rose to a near three-year high in April, are set to hit the group’s operating profitability in the coming months, the release said.

But current conditions also present an upside: “We believe the currency devaluation will be uniquely beneficial to Macro in terms of demand, particularly among our continuously expanding premium lines, with Macro offering lower-priced substitutes to imported products which have since become increasingly expensive,” said Chairman Ahmed Elnayeb.

MOVES

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has named CBE head Tarek Amer as the new chairman of its board of governors, succeeding Ghanaian Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta.

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LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

Last Night’s Talk Shows: ADQ industrial investment + high-speed rail lead the conversation on the airwaves

Leading the airwaves yesterday: A new industrial partnership between Egypt, UAE and Jordan that would see Abu Dhabi Wealth Fund (ADQ) investing around USD 10 bn in projects in the three countries led the conversation in talk shows, with a focus from Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 5:24) and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 5:16). Trade and Industry Minister Nevine Gamea — who accompanied the Egyptian delegation to Abu Dhabi — phoned in to Ala Mas’ouleety to discuss the agreement and what it means for Egypt (watch, runtime: 17:11).

The high-speed rail got coverage for the second night running: Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir joined El Hekaya’s Amr Adib to discuss the timeline for Egypt’s 2k-km high-speed rail system and its significance for the country (watch, runtime: 4:37). This comes after Siemens, Orascom Construction and Arab Contractors on Saturday signed the contract for the second and third lines of the network, which will connect Cairo to Abu Simbel and Luxor to Hurghada.

We have a timeline for the first phase: Construction and testing on the first line of the project, which runs 660 km between Ain Sokhna and Marsa Matrouh, will be finished during the second half of 2024, El Wazir told Adib (watch, runtime: 1:35). Work began in May last year, he said, expecting Siemens to begin working and supplying tracks and systems by the beginning of August.

And some details on the second: Work on the second and third lines will begin in the next three to four months, OC CEO Osama Bishai told Bloomberg Asharq in an interview (watch, runtime: 8:09). The lines — running roughly 1.3k km across the country — will be finished within four years, he said.

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Leading the conversation on Egypt this morning in the foreign press: Swedish-Egyptian filmmaker Tarik Saleh won the screenplay award at Cannes for his film Boy from Heaven. Saleh dedicated his prize to Egyptian filmmakers, telling them to “raise your voices, and tell your stories.” (NYT | AP | Bloomberg)

Also making headlines:

  • Silo workers are working overtime to ensure the availability of wheat while farmers are struggling to make ends meet given across-the-board rises in input costs, including for wages, electricity and fertilizer. (Reuters)
  • Dancing to the beat of the tabla: The tabla is no longer something taboo associated with nightclubs and belly dancers, it has rebranded itself as a musical instrument that anyone can take up. (AFP)
  • The national dialogue could mark an “ easing” of Egypt’s tightly-controlled political climate, Hamza Hendawi writes. (The National)
  • The Musicians’ Syndicate can’t censor Disney: Egyptian director Mohamed Diab turned to mahraganat to soundtrack his recent Disney+ Marvel series, Moon Knight, featuring artists who have been banned by the Musicians’ Syndicate. (Vox)

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

External debt rose 6% to USD 145.5 bn during 2Q FY2021-2022, up from USD 137.4 bn during the first quarter, according to central bank data (pdf) released yesterday. This is equivalent to 33.2% of GDP, up from 32.6% the previous quarter. The debt “remains within manageable limits,” the CBE said, citing its “favorable” structure and a lower debt-to-GDP ratio than the average in other regions of the world. Long-term debt accounted for more than 90% of Egypt’s total debt during the quarter.

AfDB launches climate adaptation facility — and some of it could head our way: The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched a new facility that will channel funds into sustainable small businesses and promote regulations that encourage the circular business model, the bank said at the weekend. The Africa Circular Economy Facility (ACEF) has received an initial EUR 4 mn from Finland and the Nordic Development Fund, which will be deployed in countries across Africa over five years. It’s not yet clear how the facility will be divided among African countries and what kind of support could be in line for.

What’s a circular economy? Simply put, it’s a business model that tries to limit waste and puts sustainability at the heart of production and consumption. Reusing and recycling waste, limiting pollution, and regenerating natural environments are all key “circular” concepts.

The Egyptian American Enterprise Fund (EAEF) invested USD 28 mn in Egypt in 2021, it said in its annual impact report (pdf). The EAEF made fresh commitments to Algebra Ventures Fund and Ezdehar Management Fund II during the year, taking its total investment since 2015 to USD 250 mn. The fund has invested in 10 companies and four funds over the seven-year period, and attracted another USD 657 mn in FDI into the country.

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

  • Fantasy football startup Eksab has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Egyptian Premier League. (Statement)
  • The Transport Ministry has begun trialing its new Talgo trains along the Cairo-Alexandria line, and will soon launch trials on the Cairo-Aswan rail line. (Statement)
  • The Cairo Chamber of Commerce greenlit the establishment of a local and international commercial arbitration center. (Al Borsa)
  • IT systems provider Select International is looking to invest EGP 330 mn in Egypt in 2022. (Statement, pdf)
  • Evolve Investment Holding and Azimut Egypt have launched a gold-backed investment fund. (Al Borsa)
  • Acting leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Mahmoud Ezzat and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the former Islamist leader-turned-centrist presidential candidate, have been sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of spreading false news and inciting against the state. (Youm7)
  • Authorities have ordered the release of several detainees, including a journalist and a researcher, who have been detained for two years without charge. (Ahram Online)

PLANET FINANCE

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Cheap money is history: Central banks around the world are raising interest rates at the fastest rate in more than two decades, according to analysis by the Financial Times. Monetary policymakers have hiked rates more than 60 times since March, the largest number since at least the turn of the millennium, the salmon-colored paper writes.

Oil + gas exporters are loving life right now:

  • Saudi oil exports hit six-year high: The value of Saudi oil exports more than doubled y-o-y in March as the oil-rich nation capitalized on surging prices to bring in USD 30 bn during the month — the highest in at least six years. (Bloomberg)
  • Qatar gas revenues surge: Qatar’s gas revenues more than doubled to QAR 43.5 bn in April as more countries turned to the country’s gas in response to the war in Ukraine. (Bloomberg)

Other stories getting ink in the global business press:

  • One of the world’s largest accountancy firms could break itself up: Big Four accountancy firm EY is looking to either publicly list or partially sell its global advisory business, as it looks to shake off regulatory scrutiny following a string of accounting scandals. (FT)
  • The RUB is too hot right now: Russia slashed interest rates by 300 bps on Thursday in a bid to put a ceiling over the RUB, which has soared to become one of the world’s best-performing currencies due to capital controls imposed in response to Western economic sanctions. (FT)

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THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 fell 1.1% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 298 mn (64.6% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up/down 15.6% YTD.

In the green: GB Auto (+7.3%), AMOC (+0.9%) and Fawry (+0.8%).

In the red: Oriental Weavers (-5.4%), Heliopolis Housing (-4.6%) and EFG-Hermes (-3.5%).

DIPLOMACY

Egypt and Israel want to more than double the value of annual bilateral trade to USD 700 mn by 2025, the Times of Israel reported yesterday, citing a statement from the Israeli economy ministry. According to the proposed plan, the two countries would turn the Nitzana border crossing in Sinai into a logistics zone to increase commercial trade, and collaborate on green energy projects and R&D. They’re also looking to increase the number of direct flights. Egypt would also up its exports of food and construction materials to Israel, and increase its imports of tech and agricultural supplies.

Egypt-Israel trade would actually be worth a lot more than USD 700 mn: The figure excludes Israeli natural gas exports and tourism, which account for a sizable portion of bilateral trade. Last year, annual trade was worth USD 300 mn.

ALSO IN DIPLOMACY-

  • The Foreign Ministry has condemned the storming of the Al Aqsa Mosque complex by Israeli settlers yesterday during the annual flag march in Jerusalem’s Old City, and warned that the provocation risks inflaming tensions. (Statement)
  • Egypt and the DRC signed a cooperation protocol on defense training and knowledge exchange during a meeting between Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki and his Congolese counterpart. (Statement)
blackboard

The sports scholarship landscape in Egypt: While strong academic performance is a fixture of acceptance requirements in educational institutions, athletic achievements among K-12 students also provide a path forward in the academic field, with similar financial perks. Sports scholarships geared towards top-performing athletes — a fixture of universities in countries such as the US and Canada — have also become available at several private universities in Egypt. Today, we give a rundown of the scholarships and financial support packages available for young athletes.

Athletes can get a full ride at AUC: Starting off with one of the top-ranked academic institutions in Egypt, the American University in Cairo offers a reduction of up to USD 10k per semester for students — the exact value is calculated and evaluated on an individual basis , according to AUC’s policy. Students should have participated in one of the sports organized by the Egyptian University Sports Federation (EUSF), or any of the Olympic games. Maintaining the sports scholarship per academic year depends on the student’s performance and athletic activities and results during each year.

Wadi Degla offers a full scholarship at AUC for student athletes: Wadi Degla recently launched a scholarship to “promote the notion that academic and athletic excellence can be achieved hand in hand.” The program targets Egyptian student athletes who manage to achieve academic excellence while excelling in soccer, squash, swimming, basketball, or track & field. The scholarship sponsors one student athlete at a time: covering the full tuition fees up until the student graduates, and then it is re-offered to another student athlete.

International-level athletes can get scholarships of up to 100% at GUC: The German University in Cairo offers scholarships for sport achievements at international levels. The scholarship size “is determined by the rank of student, semester and study module student belongs to.” Scholarship recipients need to maintain an overall GPA of no less than 3.00 or they risk losing the scholarship in the following year.

The BUE offers partial scholarships for student athletes: International-level athletes can get tuition reductions of 30-50% based on the medals they received, while national-level athletes can get scholarships ranging between 20-40%. All scholarships are awarded for the first year only, then re-assessed at the beginning of every academic year based on the student’s achievements during the previous year.

FUE offers sports achievement scholarships: Future University in Egypt offers scholarships for students who have earned championship titles at an international, African, or local sports competition. Eligible students must submit the championship certificate, authenticated by the Supreme Council of Sports.

Individual athletes who compete internationally get the all-star treatment at UofCanada: The Universities of Canada in Egypt offer athletic scholarships to Egyptian students enrolled in their Cairo branches of University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) and Ryerson. Athletes who’ve scored a medal in an individual sport at the international level get a full scholarship, while those who play team sports can get a 50% break on tuition if they landed medals in international tournaments. Students who claim national tournament titles can get 10-30% scholarships based on their rankings. Athletes must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.7 and continue to practice their sport and play tournaments under the name of Universities of Canada.

Although it’s not direct financial support, the government recognizes athletic achievements by adding extra marks for athletic excellence to their total score in their final school year, as per the Education Act. World championship title holders and Olympics get an additional 12-24 marks if they finish in first, second, third, or fourth place. Those who earn African, Mediterranean or Arab titles also get recognition for their athletic achievement with 4-18 additional marks ranging, depending on the competition and their ranking. As for local competitions, athletes can get between 3-8 additional marks if they get a medal or reach fourth place.

Which sports are recognized? Any of the sports on the Olympics list, as well as a few that aren’t including: Squash, kung fu, diving, speedball, golf, and chess. To get the athletic excellence marks, the championship must be accredited by international federations, and the student has to be enrolled in schools accredited by the Education Ministry.


Your top education stories for the week:

  • Cabinet approved a draft decision by the prime minister to reduce tuition fees for international students at several universities outside of Cairo, according to a statement following the cabinet’s weekly meeting.
  • Egypt has signed MoUs with 10 international companies — including IBM, Cisco, and VMWare — to advance Egyptian students’ IT skills, according to a cabinet statement.

CALENDAR

OUR CALENDAR 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

27 May-3 June (Friday-Friday): El Gouna International Squash Open 2022.

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.

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

1-4 June (Wednesday-Saturday): The Islamic Development Bank will hold its 2022 annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh.

2-3 June (Thursday-Friday): Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) will hold two high-level parallel meetings on climate action and digital transformation during IsDB’s 2022 annual meetings in Sharm.

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).

7 June (Tuesday): Technology conference Tech Invest 4 will take place at the Grand Nile Hotel in Cairo.

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): EU-Egypt Sustainable Food Value Chain conference, Grand Nile Tower Hotel, Cairo.

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.

21-23 June (Tuesday-Thursday): Commonwealth Business Forum, Kigali, Rwanda.

23 June (Thursday): Central Bank of Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

26 June (Sunday): 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.

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: 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.

10-16 October (Monday-Sunday): World Bank and IMF annual meetings, Washington, DC, chaired by CBE Governor Tarek Amer

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.

3-5 November (Thursday-Saturday): Egypt Fashion Week.

4-6 November (Friday-Sunday): 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.

MAY 2023

22-26 May (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh.

EVENTS WITH NO SET DATE

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.

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.

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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