Sunday, 3 July 2022

AM — Egypt just bought a lot of wheat — the World Bank just gave us USD 500 mn to help us fund it

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Welcome to FY2022-2023, ladies and gentlemen. And while a bunch of you are on summer break (judging by the volume of OOO replies in our inboxes), there’s no rest for the weary on the policy and investment front.

THE BIG STORIES TODAY are too numerous to summarize up top: We’ve just sealed one of our biggest wheat buys in years, there’s more news on the GCC investment front, and a landmark real estate court ruling that may help that trend continue.

ALSO MAKING HEADLINES- British American Tobacco is exiting Egypt among a bunch of other countries, and the subscription deadline for the retail portion of Ghazl El Mahala’s IPO could be pushed back. We explore those in detail in the news well below.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY-

The long-awaited light rail opens today: The first phases of the light rail transit system (LRT) connecting Cair, the new administrative capital and Tenth of Ramadan will start operating today. Eight stations connecting new cities such as Al Shorouk, Badr and Al Mostakbal with Adly Mansour and Knowledge City in the new capital will go live today, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The line will be expanded deeper into the new capital and to Tenth of Ramadan in later phases.

Tickets are going to be pricier than the metro, costing between EGP 15-35 depending on how far you’re going.

Want to know more about the LRT line? We’ve got you covered with our in-depth project profile.

The Austrian FM is in town: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will hold talks with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg in Cairo today. The two will discuss relations between the two countries as well as current regional and international issues.

The Egypt Industries Expo starts today at the Egypt International Exhibition Center. The three-day event brings together leading industry players in various sectors to promote their products.

THIS WEEK-

MPs could begin their summer recess this week: The House will reconvene this week, holding plenary sessions today, tomorrow and Tuesday as the current legislative cycle draws to a close. Speculation is growing among MPs that recess could begin later this week though there’s still a chance that our elected representatives will have to postpone their annual Sahel getaways until after Eid.

On the legislative agenda this week:

  • Saudi investment: MPs will today discuss the agreement signed with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) at the end of March which could see USD 10 bn of fresh Saudi investment in the economy. The PIF and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) have already identified the companies — both private and state-owned — that the Saudi wealth fund will invest in.
  • Consumer finance: Government-drafted amendments to the Consumer Finance Act will be debated tomorrow. Three articles could be added to the act to provide greater fraud protections to consumers, according to a note seen by Enterprise.
  • Tax disputes: The House will also discuss government-drafted amendments to tax dispute settlements tomorrow, part of efforts to improve the investor climate and boost tax revenues.

Will the reforms to competition rules make it to the House before the recess? We’re hearing that discussions have reached a deadlock and there’s a chance that we won’t see any movement on this until the next legislative session starts in October. We have more in this morning’s news well, below.

EIB pledges support for water and sustainable transport during upcoming VP visit: European Investment Bank Vice President Gelsomina Vigliotti will be in town for a four-day visit this week, marking her first high-level visit to the country since the covid pandemic began in 2020, according to a statement (pdf). The visit will see Vigliotti discuss the bank’s support for Egypt’s energy and food security, as well as green projects ahead of the COP27 summit in November.

There’s no single story dominating the international headlines as we wake up this morning: There’s more bad news for crypto bros, ominous news for Ukrainian forces in the Donbas, and inconvenient news for US travelers ahead of July Fourth celebrations.

WATCH THIS SPACE- Diplomats are working hard on a Tiran and Sanafir transfer agreement: Lawyers and diplomats from Egypt, Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia are working on a “complex” series of agreements to pave the way for the transfer of the Tiran and Sanafir islands from Egypt and Saudi Arabia ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region later this month, Axios reports, citing three Israeli officials. The plan, which could open the door to Israel and Saudi Arabia normalizing ties, has reportedly received the green light in Israel, potentially putting Biden in reach of his first major foreign policy breakthrough.

The costs of climate inaction are the biggest threat to economic growth, Mahmoud Mohieldin, the special envoy of the UN Secretary General, executive director at the IMF, and the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt, said during a speech at the Climate Innovation Forum in London on Tuesday. As one of the leading figures building support for COP27’s agenda, Mohieldin has put sustainable finance and climate adaptation strategies — especially in aid of Africa —at the heart of his pitch to global leaders ahead of the global summit in Sharm El Sheikh in November.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

It’s the start of a brand new month — and you know what that means…

  • PMI: Data measuring activity in Egypt’s non-oil private sector will drop on Wednesday, 6 July.
  • Foreign reserves: Foreign reserves figures will be out sometime this week.
  • Inflation: Inflation data for June will land on Sunday, 10 July.

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

enterprise

*** It’s What’s Next day: We have our weekly deep-dive into what makes and shapes pre-listed companies and startups in Egypt, the UAE and KSA, touching on investment trends, future sector insights and growth journeys.

In today’s issue: Today, we explore what’s next for healthtech in Egypt. We go beyond the startups to look at the healthtech that is moving the industry and what trends industry insiders expect, from both the startups and traditional healthcare providers.

enterprise

A sizzling summer awaits you by the bay as we’ve saved you the hassle of planning by bringing you a lineup of unmatched energy and fun packed vacation activities to last you all season long. It’s time to create magical memories with relaxed beach-side days and excitingly fresh nights. From pumping up the adrenaline with Footgolf and Go-Karting to turning up the music and heat at Sobar with Ladies’ nights, groovy beats and lots of dancing. From BBQ beach parties at S-cape to riding horses by the sea — there’s a little special something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you at the Bay.

COMMODITIES

GASC makes huge wheat buy + World Bank approves USD 500 mn loan

State makes its biggest wheat buy in a decade as futures dip: State grain buyer GASC last week purchased 815k tons of wheat for shipment in August, September and October, state news agency MENA reports, citing the authority. The purchase of French, Romanian, Russian, and Bulgarian wheat in last Wednesday’s tender was GASC’s largest since at least 2012, Bloomberg data shows.

The breakdown: The order was for 350k tons of French wheat, 240k tons of Romanian wheat, 175k tons from Russia, and 50k tons from Bulgaria. This is the third successful tender GASC has launched since Russia invaded Ukraine. Pre-war, the two countries supplied north of 80% of our wheat imports.

We locked in the grain while prices are lower: GASC bought the wheat at around USD 430-440 per ton on a cost and freight (C&F) basis, with the cheapest prices coming from Romania and the most expensive from France, Reuters reports, citing traders. That’s around 8-10% cheaper than GASC’s last purchase of mostly Romanian wheat in June, though still 58% above prices from the same period last year. Unusually, the purchase is for shipments spread out over several months rather than a matter of weeks, Bloomberg notes, suggesting GASC looked to lock in the greatest amount of grain possible while the price was right.

You can thank recent recession predictions: The outbreak of war in Ukraine at the end of February sent grain prices to a 14-year high and spurred talk of a global food security crisis. But murmurs of a looming global recession as central banks attempt to bring down inflation has cooled the markets. Chicago futures are now trading at their lowest price since February, having fallen by a third since the middle of May.

French grain on the rise? This latest tender offers fresh evidence that France is becoming an important supplier to Egypt after war in Ukraine blocked shipments from the country. France has pledged to support us on food security and led the suppliers in GASC’s first successful tender since war broke out in Ukraine, while the second tender in June was fulfilled by Romanian, Russian, and Bulgarian suppliers. We’ve also been purchasing cargoes directly from suppliers, including most recently a 180k-ton shipment from India.

Egypt’s total wheat imports for FY2022-2023 are expected to come in at 10 mn tons, with the state looking to import some 5-5.5 mn tons of that (with the remainder purchased by the private sector), Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy said last week.

HOW ARE WE PAYING? We’re getting that USD 500 mn loan from the World Bank to boost our food security after the multilateral lender on Wednesday approved extending us the loan first announced in June, according to a statement (pdf). The loan will go towards wheat imports to cover the equivalent of one month’s supply for the nationwide bread subsidy program, the statement read. It will also help upgrade and expand wheat silos and up domestic cereals production in efforts to improve climate resilience.

The breakdown: An earlier World Bank document (pdf) said the program would provide USD 350 mn to GASC to purchase up to 700k tons of wheat; USD 117.5 mn to raise silo capacity, increase the use of high-yielding types of wheat, and improve climate resilience; and USD 2.5 mn to manage the project.

M&A WATCH

And the GCC investments keep rolling on…

ADP Group grabs majority stake in major local cargo firm: Abu Dhabi Ports (ADP) has reached an agreement to acquire a 70% stake in local shipping and logistics firm International Associated Cargo Carrier (IACC) for AED 514 mn (USD 140 mn), according to a press release by the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office.

This is ADP’s first international acquisition in its history and will be funded from the company’s reserves, which currently stand at more than AED 3 bn (USD 816.7 mn), it said.

Who’s who: IACC Holdings, owned by the El Ahwal family, is an investment company that focuses on shipping and logistics. It is the sole owner of Egypt-based shipping firm Transmar and terminal operator Transcargo International (TCI), and also owns two other shipping companies, Safina and IACC Logistics, according to its website. Transmar operates across the Middle East, Red Sea, Arabian Gulf and Eastern Coast of Africa and handled around 109k TEUs last year, according to the statement. TCI’s focus is container operations at Adabiya Port, and handled around 92.5k TEUs and some 1.2 mn tons of bulk cargoes in 2021.

No management changes: The El Ahwal family and its executive team will remain in management of both Transmar and TCI, the statement said.

Advisors: KPMG LG acted as the financial advisor to ADP, while PwC acted as the buyer’s commercial advisor and Matouk Bassiouny and Hennawy as its legal advisor. Transmar and TCI had EFG Hermes acting as the exclusive financial advisor and White & Case as the legal advisor.

ADP is no stranger to our ports: In May, ADP signed contracts to build and run a multi-purpose terminal in Safaga Port as part of a joint venture with the Red Sea Ports Authority and the Transport Ministry’s commercial arm, and cruise ship berths and terminals in the Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada and Safaga ports. ADP in March signed agreements with the Transport Ministry to manage and operate a multi-purpose terminal in Ain Sokhna port and a river port in Minya Governorate.

And the UAE is investing big in Egypt right now: ADP is majority owned by Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ, which bought 32% of Alexandria Container & Cargo Handling as part of its USD 1.8 bn investment in five local state-owned and private firms in April.

DISPUTE WATCH

…As we have stories like these

Court strikes down case against Qatari + other Arab investors: An Egyptian court last week acquitted a number of Arab investors connected to Qatari Diar of tax evasion, according to a document seen by Enterprise.

What tax evasion case? Qatar’s Barwa Real Estate offloaded most of its assets — including its Egyptian subsidiary — to Qatari Diar in 2014 to settle its debts. The subsidiary at the time was named Barwa Egypt for Real Estate Development, but has since rebranded as East Gate Developments and sold stakes in the project to three other shareholders. The Egyptian Tax Authority slapped a EGP 6.5 bn tax evasion case on Barwa’s management, who the authority argued should be subject to income tax because they represent a resident company, as well as the capital gains tax. The tax, which imposes a 10% levy on any EGX transaction or sale of shares where investors make gains, was briefly introduced in 2015 before being suspended and reintroduced this year.

Why the court dismissed the case: The sale in 2014 was made before the capital gains tax came into effect, although the case was filed after the tax was introduced, the court ruled. It also said it did not find the claim that the company is a “resident company” to be valid, and that it is “not permissible for us to overread or expand on writings of the law and its penalties,” according to the ruling.

MEANWHILE- An administrative court also upheld a landmark ruling that sets an important precedent for real estate M&A. The ruling — which came out of another case against Qatari Diar’s East Gate Developments in 2019 — essentially stops the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) from classifying land ownership changes through real estate M&A as “indirect sales,” and so charging land transfer fees to companies that undergo M&A, Shahid Law Firm Managing Partner Girgis told Enterprise. The dispute was between Diar and the NUCA, which had attempted to slap an EGP 1.3 bn fine on East Gate over its purchase of a land plot for its City Gate Project.

No more appeals: The court’s decision to uphold the ruling is final, sources with knowledge of the matter told Enterprise.

This should go a long way to ease investor concerns as our investment drive goes on: Egypt has been pushing to lure investments into the country, particularly from allies in the GCC, who pledged over USD 22 bn in support of our finances. Qatar said in March it would invest USD 5 bn in Egypt to help shore up the economy — and Qatari officials have so far discussed investing USD 2-3 bn in the local market in talks with the Madbouly government, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said earlier this week. Qatari Diar is one of the firms that has expressed interest in expanding its footprint here.

Shahid Law Firm defended the investors.

DIVESTMENT WATCH

British American Tobacco wants out

British American Tobacco (BAT) will discontinue operations in Egypt this month due to concerns about the market’s long-term commercial viability, a company spokesperson told Enterprise. The company — whose brands include Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Viceroy, and Rothmans — will no longer sell its products in Egypt, ending its operations after 22 years. More than 150 employees will be affected by the move. The Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) reportedly received a notice last week confirming the move, Ibrahim Imbabi, head of the FEI’s tobacco division said, according to Sada El Balad.

It wasn’t just us apparently: “There are other markets affected, and Egypt is not the only one,” Mariana Magdy, director of the company’s external and government relations department told Zawya on Wednesday.

The decision has nothing to do with the new tobacco manufacturing license, the company said, but is solely based on the long-term viability of selling the cigarettes in Egypt. “The decision came after a global review by the company of its activities and an assessment of the long-term commercial feasibility,” she noted.

BAT Egypt was reportedly one of the companies to object to the tender last year, arguing that the conditions would establish a new monopoly over the manufacture of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. Philip Morris subsidiary United Tobacco Company was ultimately the only company to apply for the license and is now working with Eastern Company — which has purchased a 24% stake in United as part of the agreement — to become the country’s second cigarette manufacturer.

IPO WATCH

Ghazl El Mahalla IPO could be extended

Subscription to the retail offering in Ghazl El Mahalla’s IPO has been extended until 13 August due to weak investor demand for the football club’s shares, Al Borsa reports. The club was originally expected to wrap up the retail component of the IPO on 1 July but has given investors another six weeks to buy in after receiving bids for less than 10% of the 98 mn shares on offer, the newspaper quotes Mohamed Maher, the CEO of bookrunner Prime Holding, as saying.

Interest in the retail component has been slow: Some 625 investors have so far participated in the subscription since it opened in mid-June, with requests placed for around 8.6 mn shares as of Wednesday, the newspaper quotes Maher as saying. That’s less than 9% of the 98 mn shares the club is offering to the public at EGP 1.02 apiece.

The club will once again be looking to big investors to cover the subscriptions: The club will now allow investors to purchase up to 15 mn shares, up from 2 mn currently, in a bid to attract institutional investors, Maher said. The original cap had deterred larger investors from subscribing to the offering, Public Enterprise Minister Hisham Tawfik told Yahduth Fi Masr on Wednesday (watch, runtime: 7:31).

BACKGROUND- Ghazl El Mahalla is offering a 67.5% stake in its IPO, which is expected to raise EGP 135 mn. The club raised EGP 37 mn during the institutional component of the offering in November.

DEBT WATCH

Al Ahly Pharos closes EGP 1.2 bn securitization for Talaat Moustafa Group

Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG) has sold EGP 1.17 bn worth of securitized bonds in an issuance managed by Al Ahly Pharos, according to a statement (pdf) last week. The three-tranche issuance was backed by a EGP 1.73 bn portfolio of receivables from real estate units transferred from the Arab Company for Projects and Urban Development, a TMG subsidiary. This is the first bond issuance to be backed by a portfolio of units located in the New Administrative Capital, Al Ahly Pharos CEO Ahmed Heidar said.

There’s more in the pipeline: Al Ahly Pharos is currently working to issue bond and sukuk issuances worth more than EGP 15 bn in total by the beginning of next year, Managing Director Amir Sherif said in the statement. The firm has already concluded three issuances worth more than EGP 3.5 bn since the beginning of the year, he added.

Who bought in? Twenty investors subscribed to the offering, Sherif said, without disclosing their names. The National Bank of Egypt (NBE), the Arab African International Bank, EFG Hermes Asset Management and Azimut Egypt were among the investors, according to Hapi Journal.

Advisors: Al Ahly Pharos, the brokerage arm of NBE, acted as primary lead manager, arranger, promoter, underwriter and financial advisor, while NBE and Arab African Bank are co-guarantors of the issuance. Ernst & Young acted as auditor while Dreny and Partners provided legal counsel. Meris provided the credit rating.

EARNINGS WATCH

Qalaa losses widen in 1Q2022 on FX losses

Qalaa Holdings’ losses widened in 1Q2022 despite a surge in revenues, as the depreciation of the EGP made its mark on the company. The company reported a EGP 584.1 mn loss for the quarter, compared to a EGP 478.6 mn loss in 1Q2021, even as revenues more than doubled to EGP 18.7 bn, driven by the surge in commodity prices, improved refining margins at the Egyptian Refining Company, and higher exports, according to its earnings release (pdf).

The company attributed the bottom line figure to a one-off EGP 1.3 bn FX loss caused by the falling value of the EGP, which had a “negative impact on USD-denominated debts and liabilities.” Qalaa “would have recorded a [positive] quarter” if not for the FX losses, it said in a separate statement (pdf).

Subsidiary TAQA Arabia’s revenues rose 13% y-o-y to EGP 2.3 bn, driven by increased fuel sales at TAQA Marketing, higher power distribution volumes at TAQA Power, and expansions in compressed natural gas (CNG) stations and sales volumes at TAQA Gas.

What they said: “We have successfully navigated and capitalized on the prevailing environment, benefiting from higher capacity utilization at our manufacturing businesses and leveraging our pricing advantage to grow exports,” said founder and chairman Ahmed Heikal.

Looking ahead: The company is prioritizing debt restructuring plans for Qalaa and ERC, while continuing to focus on exports to “benefit from the commodity cycle and leverage the advantage available to local manufacturers as global logistic costs continue to surge.” The company will also make “incremental investments” in its existing companies while keeping an eye out for potential fresh acquisitions.

CAPITAL MARKETS

EFG Hermes again tops the EGX brokerage league table in June

EFG Hermes once again topped the EGX’s brokerage league table in June, with a market share of 24.9%, according to figures from the EGX (pdf). Rounding out the top five were Arabeya Online Securities Brokerage (6.8%), CI Capital (6.0%), Naeem Brokerage (4.6%), and Mubasher (4.0%).

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BANKING

CBE sets new pricing policy for mobile wallet transfers, extends exemption fees on some inter-bank transactions

ATM fees are back — and there’s a cap on how much you can withdraw: The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has lifted its covid-era waiver on inter-bank ATM withdrawal fees as of 1 July, according to a circular (pdf) published on its website last week. Fees on ATM withdrawals from a bank that is not your own are capped at EGP 5, while the maximum amount that can be withdrawn in one go has been set at EGP 4k.

Other banking fee waivers are here for a while longer: The central bank has directed banks to extend until the end of the year fee exemptions on inter-bank EGP transfers, e-payments, and new contactless cards and mobile wallets.

SMART POLICY- The CBE set a new pricing policy for mobile wallet transfers: The policy exempts users from paying transfer fees for the first transaction they make each month, and places caps on fees for the remainder of transactions:

  • Transfers between mobile wallets under the same service provider are capped at EGP 1;
  • Transfers between wallets with different service providers are subject to a 0.5% fee capped at EGP 10.

A boost to the private sector + SMEs: Businesses will be exempt from all fees associated with using contactless payment tools issued by local banks. SMEs will also be exempt from fees for e-payment collections.

BACKGROUND- The fee waivers were introduced during the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020 and have been periodically extended ever since, most recently at the end of 2021.

ENERGY

Rosatom secures permit to start building Dabaa nuclear plant

Dabaa gets the regulatory thumbs-up: Russian state nuclear company Rosatom has received a permit from our nuclear authority to begin building the 4.8 GW Dabaa nuclear power plant, a statement by Rosatom read.

Next step: construction. The permit “[paves] the way for the launch of full-scale construction” at Dabaa, Rosatom Director-General Alexey Likhachev said. No timeline was given for the start of the construction work, though Likhachev in January said it would start “tentatively” in July, adding that the company expected to break ground on the plant as soon as it received the permits. Rosatom last month started manufacturing equipment for the plant.

Background: Construction work on Dabaa was set to begin in the second half of 2020 and complete by the 2028-2029 fiscal year, but covid-related disruptions pushed the expected completion date to 2030. Rosatom was contracted in 2015 to construct the USD 30 bn plant, 85% of which is being financed through a USD 25 bn loan from Russia that Egypt should begin repaying in October 2029.

LEGISLATION WATCH

Talks over amendments to Competition Act are deadlocked

Will the Competition Act prove too controversial to pass the House this session? Differences over proposed amendments to the Competition Act between our financial regulators have reached a stalemate, Ahmed Samir, head of the House Economic Affairs Committee, told reporters last week. The impasse means that the House has not tabled a wider debate on the amendments for this week as planned, potentially scuttling chances of passing them before the summer recess.

Background: The amendments, which have been up in the air since last year, would give the ECA the power to approve or block mergers and acquisitions before they are concluded if the regulator feels the transaction would be anti-competitive. As it stands today, the ECA can only raise red flags, typically after a sale is concluded (though that hasn’t stopped the authority in recent years from loudly warning that it doesn’t want to see specific acquisitions go through.)

What’s the issue? Last week saw the committee discuss the amendments with officials from the central bank, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), the EGX, and the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA). Disagreement between the FRA and the ECA has led to a deadlock, Samir said, as the two bodies grapple over which of them would be responsible for regulating transactions that currently fall under the FRA’s purview. Both Samir and ECA Chairman Mahmoud Momtaz have rejected an FRA request to exclude companies that fall under its jurisdiction from the amendments, Samir said.

Legislation could be kicked to October: “The differences over the amendments are still big and need time to be ironed out,” Samir said, without disclosing whether he believed the committee would be able to send the legislation to a House vote before the summer recess as it had hoped to. If the amendments aren’t passed, they would be kicked to the next legislative session, which begins in the first week of October. There’s a slight chance that the amendments could still be discussed before the House adjourns if it decides to extend its debates beyond the Eid Al Adha holiday.

Check our explainer here on what we know so far about the points of contention over the amendments and what the business community thinks.

MOVES

El Mostakbal for Urban Development has appointed Ayman Elkousey (LinkedIn) as managing director and CEO, the company announced in a statement. Elkousey has over 25 years of experience in the management and development of real estate and investment companies, and most recently he served as the Egyptian CEO for Saudi conglomerate Ajlan & Bros.

Former CBE governor Hisham Ramez is on course to serve a third consecutive term as the chairman of Arab International Bank after the Central Bank of Egypt gave its initial approval for the bank’s board for the 2022-2025 period, Al Shorouk reported. Ramez has been the bank’s CEO since April 2016.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

No single story dominated the conversation on the airwaves over the weekend, with the nation’s talking heads devoting coverage to an assortment of issues from the government’s decision to demolish houseboats on the Nile to Mo Salah’s fat new contract at Liverpool.

On the econ front, economist Hany Tawfik joined Amr Adib on El Hekaya to discuss the increase of the country’s debt burden, which he warned was outpacing the growth of state revenues (watch, runtime: 12:23).

Also getting play on the airwaves last night:

  • Could the parliament save the Nile houseboats set for demolition? MP Amira Saber has issued an urgent statement to Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and the water resources and environment ministers protesting the decision to demolish the Nile houseboats and highlighting their historical significance. Saber was on El Hekaya to discuss the issue with Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 5:56).
  • Gold prices will not be affected by the recent VAT increase on gold craftsmanship, Nagy Farag, advisor to the Supply Minister for the gold industry, told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 5:38). The gold jewelry division of the Cairo Chambers of Commerce announced last week that as of 1 July, a 10% rate of VAT will be applied to gold craftsmanship.
  • Mo Salah’s huge new contract with Liverpool got some airtime: Liverpool star Mo Salah will become the highest-paid player in the club’s history after signing a huge GBP 350k-per-week contract, keeping him at Anfield until 2025. El Hekaya had coverage (watch, runtime: 2:42).
  • Who’s to blame for the shortage of cancer sticks? The government, according to Ibrahim Imbabi, Head of the Tobacco and Cigarette Division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries, who told Amr Adib that policymakers need to hike prices by EGP 1-2 in order to address supply issues (watch, runtime: 5:19).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

The demolition of the iconic Nile houseboats is dominating the conversation on Egypt in the foreign press: Authorities last week ordered residents of houseboats on the Nile (or ‘3awamat’ as they’re known) to leave their homes to make way for a new commercial strip. (Reuters | FT | BBC | NYT | Washington Post | WSJ)

Also getting a lot of attention: Authorities have closed the coast near Sahl Hasheesh to tourists and fishing boats after a shark killed an Austrian woman who was swimming in the Red Sea. (AP | Times of Israel | Telegraph)

PLANET FINANCE

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EFG Hermes - https://efghermes.com/

Oil could reach a “stratospheric” USD 380 a barrel if Russia continues to slash output to EU countries in response to escalating Western sanctions, JPMorgan analysts warned in a note to clients cited by Bloomberg. G7 nations have been working towards implementing a price cap on Russian oil in a bid to tamp down on global price surges and tighten sanctions against Moscow. “The most obvious and likely risk with a price cap is that Russia might choose not to participate and instead retaliate by reducing exports,” the analysts wrote. “It is likely that the government could retaliate by cutting output as a way to inflict pain on the West. The tightness of the global oil market is on Russia’s side.”

The breakdown: Russia could realistically cut supplies by 5 mn barrels (which is the worst case scenario that could push prices up to USD 380), while a 3 mn-barrel cut to daily supplies would push benchmark London crude prices to USD 190. Brent crude is currently trading at USD 111 a barrel, down from its post-invasion highs but significantly above where it was before the war.

Up

EGX30

9,226

+0.5% (YTD: -22.8%)

Up

USD (CBE)

Buy 18.75

Sell 18.83

Up

USD at CIB

Buy 18.78

Sell 18.84

None

Interest rates CBE

11.25% deposit

12.25% lending

Down

Tadawul

11,523

-1.7% (YTD: +2.1%)

Down

ADX

9,345

-0.3% (YTD: +10.1%)

Down

DFM

3,202

-0.7% (YTD: +0.2%)

Up

S&P 500

3,825

+1.1% (YTD: -19.7%)

None

FTSE 100

7,169

0.0% (YTD: -2.9%)

Down

Euro Stoxx 50

3,448

-0.2% (YTD: -19.8%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 111.63

+2.4%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 5.73

+5.6%

Down

Gold

USD 1,801.50

-0.3%

Down

BTC

USD 19,309

-0.2% (YTD: -53.3%)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.5% during Wednesday’s session on turnover of EGP 554 mn (33.2% below the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 22.8% YTD.

In the green: GB Auto (+4.7%), Talaat Moustafa Group (+4.0%) and Rameda (+3.8%).

In the red: Cleopatra Hospital (-2.1%), Orascom Construction (-1.9%) and Heliopolis Housing (-1.0%).

DIPLOMACY

Egypt inks 12 agreements with Algeria to boost trade + investment ties: Egypt and Algeria signed 12 MoUs in the fields of industry, investment, exports, irrigation and water resources, small and micro enterprises, and higher education, according to a cabinet statement. This came during Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly’s visit to the country last week, which saw him meet with his Algerian counterpart Aymen Benabderrahmane and other Algerian officials. The two sides are hoping to double trade volumes and plan to announce new joint projects before the end of the year.

Alternative Algerian-Egyptian trade route? Madbouly said the maritime trade route between Egypt and Tunisia, which both countries are currently studying, could be extended to reach Algerian ports, as an alternative to the current land route passing through Libya.

whatsNext

What’s next for healthtech in Egypt and how can healthcare operators catch up: Healthtech startups are having a good year in Egypt, with investment rounds from the likes of Egypt-based Rology and Otida. Today, we go beyond the startups to look at the healthtech that is moving the industry and what trends industry insiders expect, from both the startups and traditional healthcare providers.

We also explore how traditional healthcare companies can adapt to the new tech: What we found is that healthcare operators are indeed adopting new tech, and some are even being developed in-house. That said, insiders see M&As as the best way to go about acquiring tech and expect this trend to heat up. They also recommend establishing tech departments, as well as leverage cross-industry partnerships.

But first, an overview of the healthtech pervading in the market: For startups, the big trend appears to be visitation booking apps. Of the 53 healthtech startups tracked by the CIT Ministry in 2021, about a quarter focus on facilitating bookings for patients.

Other trends in startup land: The remaining look at practice management, procurement, virtual healthcare and health information, diagnostics, ins. and emergency responses.

What tech do traditional healthcare providers like? Having a one-stop-shop for medical records and services, executive director for strategy and business operations at Cleopatra Hospital Group (CHG) Hassan Fikry tells us. “The most important component of digitizing healthcare is to have access to all healthcare services online and having your holistic healthcare file on one digital platform,” he adds.

CHG developed and launched a patient-facing electronic medical record (EMR) system, similar to e-banking portals, combining patient history and accessibility. The records are accessible through the website via a unique patient identification code. Patients can log into the system, book their appointments, see their lab work, x-rays, and medical history, as well as order prescribed medication and get second opinions. “It’s a consolidation of what different companies are trying to do,” Fikry says.

What areas can we expect the healthtech industry in Egypt to focus on in the future? The emergence of fintech will pave the way for improving access and affordability to healthcare. “We are already witnessing an enhancement in the regulations and legislations in countries such as Egypt to build the foundation for Fintech’s surgence, and we’re bound to see major

integration between these two industries in the coming years,” Vezeeta founder and CEO Amir Barsoum believes.

Fikry believes the future lies in diagnostics and follow-up through technology. This means, for example, that a postoperative patient who’s at home can be monitored by hospitals through virtual consultations or medical equipment technology. So instead of post-operative care taking place at the hospital, it takes place at home.

Consolidation will continue to be a big theme in healthcare: Consolidation has been a dominant narrative in the healthcare sector since at least 2019, particularly last year. We’re now seeing this happen among startups, including DilenyTech being acquired by US-based therapy provider Astute Imaging, and B2B healthtech platform Aumet acquiring Egypt’s Platform One.

There’s more to come: Vezeeta is actively looking for other players to join forces with to increase its operational capacity, founder and CEO Amir Barsoum tells us.

There’s now an expectation that traditional companies will acquire new tech by acquiring the startups building them. “I am expecting many consolidations to happen between traditional businesses, digital ones, and fragmented, smaller ones within the healthtech sector,” Vezeeta says. He also added that .

Some see consolidation as not that beneficial to consumers: “The prevalence of new players is an indicator of market health,” Altibbi’s chief growth officer Abdellatif Olama tells us. “Different players are trying to add to the ecosystem through new angles that would make them stand out. I’m pro-competition to get the best service for the users,” he adds. While he does not oppose market consolidation of bigger players buying smaller ones, Olama thinks that consolidation among large providers will benefit players more than patients.

Others see fragmentation as hurting the startup players: This can, in turn, lead to lower customer adoption overall. “In the past 2-3 years, a lot of new startups have been coming up with new healthtech ideas, but their customer adoption seems to be low,” Fikry tells us.

So how can a healthcare company best prepare for what’s to come? First, build your own digital transformation department and train your staff on how to use the new tools. “Healthcare companies, especially established ones, need to get a strong digital transformation department to prepare for what’s to come,” Fikry says, adding that “they are just as important as medical functions today.” But in order to properly leverage this department, staff, including nurses and doctors, need to be trained to use the tools that the department comes up with.

Second, build cross-industry partnerships. “Working together with different partners can produce much better outcomes for patients, and in return, generate a greater positive economic impact,” Barsoum says.

And of course, fostering a climate of innovation: By embracing innovation because it is inevitable, Barsoum says. “The MENA region has been slower than most in adopting change and transformation within the sector, but it is happening, and the sooner businesses get on board, the better it is for our communities,” he tells us. Olama agrees, stating that existing businesses should be aware of the new services that already exist in the market in order to prepare for the future, which can be summarized in the integration between healthcare and technology.


Your top stories on future trends for the week:

  • Digital healthcare platform Vezeeta has become the latest startup to lay off staff as unfavorable global conditions continue to impact businesses.
  • B Healthcare Investments has completed the acquisition of a 51% stake in the Egyptian IVF Center for EGP 126 mn.
  • Meet our founder of the week, Gahez Market’s co-founder and CEO Wael Olama, who shares with us his experiences of launching a startup.
  • US-based startup Electric Hydrogen has raised USD 198 mn in a huge series B round that will help it realize its goal of making green hydrogen more cost effective.

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.

JULY

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

July: Actis’ expected sale of its majority stake in Lekela to Infinity and Masdar’s Infinity Power.

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

First week of July: The national dialogue called for by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi kicks off.

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.

August: Sharm El Sheikh will host the African Sumo Championship.

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

SEPTEMBER

September: Egypt will display its first naval exhibition, Naval Power.

September: Estate Waves Egypt real estate exhibition through metaverse technology.

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

September: The sixth session of the Egyptian-German Joint Economic Committee.

September: A delegation from Germany’s Aldi will visit Egypt to look at potential investments.

6-9 September (Tuesday-Friday): Gate Travel Expo 2022, El Kobba Palace, Cairo.

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: Air Sphinx, EgyptAir’s low-cost subsidiary to commence operations.

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

October: The finals of the IEEE’s Arab IoT & AI Challenge will be held during GITEX Technology Week in Dubai next October, with participants from 11 Arab countries.

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 chaired by CBE Governor Tarek Amer, Washington, DC.

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.

6-18 November (Sunday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

7-13 November (Mon-Sun): The International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Squash Championships, New Giza.

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.

December: The Sixth of October dry port will begin operations.

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: 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.

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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