Wednesday, 19 October 2022

AM — House of Representatives passes automotive assembly + expat car import bills

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, nice people, and happy almost-THURSDAY. It’s another heavy news morning here in Omm El Donia, so we’re going to jump right in.

But first: A huge thank you to everyone who wrote in yesterday with words of encouragement and new ideas after reading our five-step recipe to boost exports + FDI. We’re wading through our inbox and WhatsApps and will reply to you all over the coming day or two.

We’re not done with the idea. We’re asking those of you attending next weeks’ Egypt and Egypt-UAE economic conferences to champion the idea — and we’ll have more for you in the weeks to come.

THE BIG STORY here at home dovetails nicely with our (not so) little project: The House passed yesterday the legislative framework that would set up a council to make policy for the automotive assembly industry. We’re (very) cautiously optimistic that after years of fits and stars on the so-called “automotive directive” this could signal today’s policymakers are more serious than were their predecessors about turning Egypt into an assembly and export hub for cars (conventional and EVs alike).

The background: After opening the door to investment in a domestic assembly industry in the 1990s and early 200s — and seeing Hyundai, Mercedes, Jeep, BMW and Toyota models put together here — we allowed policy drift to settle in and lost our first-mover advantage to regional competitors.

How did we mess up? In plenty of ways, but this was the big one: Officials at the time knew our trade agreements with the European Union and Morocco would provide offshore assemblers with zero-customs access to our market — and did absolutely nothing about it. Lots of lip service was paid to the notion of helping prepare the industry for the shock through an “automotive directive” that would help the industry move forward. Until the talk stopped and the market was flooded with EU, Moroccan and now Chinese imports. Let’s hope we’re serious this time — as we noted yesterday, two of the smartest guys we know think we could still build a car industry that exports to the GCC, Europe and Africa.

ALSO- Fundraising may have slowed down on Planet Startup, but fintech is still looking really interesting. We have at least four stories this morning with a fintech flavor to them, including an investment round led by our friends at e-Finance and Yalla super app’s push into the UAE and beyond.

^^ More on all of this in this morning’s news well, below.


EGP WATCH- The EGP will weaken to EGP 21 against the greenback by the end of the year, Fitch Solutions predicts in its latest MENA monthly outlook (pdf) report. “A strong USD and delays in reaching an IMF agreement have led to a faster depreciation than we had expected,” Fitch writes. The research house does not see the pace of depreciation slowing before 2H 2023, when it expects the USD to peak and our economy to stabilize as capital inflows start trickling in.

REMEMBER- The EGP has lost a little more than a quarter of its value against the greenback this year. Pundits see the currency settling somewhere between 22-24 to the USD — and Enterprise readers think the EGP will settle at 22.12 on average.


COUNTDOWN TO COP- We have 18 days to go and you can expect a whole lot of talk about green hydrogen in Sharm El Sheikh as Egypt prepares to announce framework agreements for the burgeoning industry, Enterprise Climate reports this morning.


HAPPENING TODAY- Cairo Water Week enters its final day: Some 18.5k attendees from 90 international and regional organizations are convening at the Nile Ritz Carlton in Cairo for the event. The focus of this year’s edition is on preparations to discuss water resources at COP27. Catch the full agenda here.

THE BIG STORIES ABROAD- Geopolitics + the energy crisis are still getting top billing in the international press. US President Joe Biden is expected to today announce the release of another 15 mn barrels of oil into the markets from strategic reserves in December, the FT reports. Expect an official announcement from the Biden administration today, along with a plan on how to replenish dwindling US stockpiles.

ICYMI- Biden wants more supply in the global oil markets to face down a looming winter energy crisis in Western nations, putting him at loggerheads with OPEC+ leader Saudi Arabia, which is cutting output on predictions of a recession induced demand slump.

ALSO- Egypt is getting lots of ink in the new issue of National Geographic, which shines attention on the Grand Egyptian Museum, the new administrative capital, and the centenary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. Meanwhile, Global Construction Review reports that the GEM is 99.8% complete. The NatGeo stories are:

MEANWHILE- Apple unveiled two new iPads last night — and the release date for the next iterations of iPadOS and macOS. Here’s the rundown:

  • The new entry level iPad (just iPad) gets its own keyboard with a function row and (at last) a FaceTime camera on the long edge of the device. It also now comes in four colors.
  • The new iPad Pro line (11” and 12.9”) keeps the same design for a fourth year and doesn’t get the FaceTime camera on the long edge (which is a crying shame considering how many of us would use them for video calls). Tentpole features include the new M2 processor, upgraded cameras, 5G, faster wifi, and a funky new feature for the Apple Pencil.
  • The latest versions of iPadOS (with a version of windowing) and macOS will drop on 24 October.

***

Take our EV survey: Are you an ex-petrolhead shopping around for your first electric vehicle? EV-curious and wondering what all the fuss is about? Or are you not ready to say goodbye to that sweet smell of benzene as you wait at the gas station?

We want to hear from you: We’re taking the pulse on how the nation feels about Egypt’s nascent EV transition. Take a few minutes to fill out our short survey. We’ll be back soon with the results.

***

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Madbouly government’s economic conference takes place Sunday-Tuesday next week. You can find the agenda for the conference here.

Egypt and the UAE will host a two-day conference marking 50 years of bilateral ties. The gathering will take place next Wednesday-Friday, 26-28 October and is being produced in association with the two governments. Day one is an economic forum featuring ministers, senior officials and business leaders, while the following day will feature a cultural forum, according to a statement.

The Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) will launch a promotional campaign next week to drum up interest in investing there, SCZone head Walid Gamal El Din said, according to a statement. The pre-COP campaign will launch domestically next Sunday, 23 October, before the international campaign kicks off on Monday, 24 October.

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


CORRECTION- In Monday’s edition of EnterpriseAM, we incorrectly said in Blackboard that nine Egyptian universities fell out of the Times Higher Education 2023 ranking. These universities were “reporter” universities for this year’s rankings — meaning they provided data for the scoring but were unranked.

CLARIFICATION- Price caps for unsubsidized bread only apply to bakeries who take up GASC’s offer of flour. We reported in Monday’s EnterprisePM that the government was reintroducing price caps on unsubsidized bread for a month. We were slightly off the mark: The price caps apply only to those bakeries who use the flour offered by state grain buyer GASC, which is making stock available to the private sector for a month while wheat cargoes remain stuck at ports amid an FX shortage. We have since amended the story on our website.

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*** It’s Hardhat day — your weekly briefing of all things infrastructure in Egypt: Enterprise’s industry vertical focuses each Wednesday on infrastructure, covering everything from energy, water, transportation, and urban development, as well as social infrastructure such as health and education.

In today’s issue: We look at how the Universal Health Ins. System is drawing in more private-sector investment. The system, which will allow patients to select their service providers — both private and public — is encouraging investments and improving healthcare quality as it expands the participation of the private sector, a recent World Bank report suggests.

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2CELLOS — LIVE AT SOMABAY on 18 November, 2022: Mark your calendars — world-renowned and wildly popular cellist duo, 2CELLOS will be performing at Somabay on 18 November, 2022. Having racked up a bn-plus audio streams, countless sold-out concerts, and mns of fans across the globe in their 10 years together as 2CELLOS, the Croatian duo of Luka Šulić and HAUSER will be visiting Egypt in their long-awaited 2022 Dedicated World Tour. Book your ticket now: https://www.ticketsmarche.com/tickets/buy-tickets-2-cellos.html. Call us 16390.

AUTOMOTIVE

Is Egypt finally getting serious about its domestic auto assembly industry?

Auto assembly legislation + expat car import scheme get parliament sign-off: The House of Representatives’ general assembly gave its final approval yesterday to two separate bills of particular interest to car assemblers and distributors. The first is legislation that will see the establishment of a new council to set policy for local vehicle industry (including EV assembly), alongside a new fund for environmentally-friendly cars. The second is a bill that will allow Egyptians living abroad to import cars and get customs and fee rebates.

Automotive bill #1: The House passed legislation that will establish a new regulatory body to set policy for the Egyptian automotive industry and launch a fund to provide incentives to businesses that assemble more environmentally friendly vehicles. The Supreme Council for Vehicle Manufacturing will draft policies, strategies, regulation and legislation governing the wider automotive industry, including EVs.

The council’s purview: Laying out policies and a general strategy to develop the local automotive industry, including legislative and administrative reforms, taking “any steps it sees fit” to create a business environment suitable for automotive assembly, and working to bring in institutional knowledge and know-how, according to a copy of the bill seen by Enterprise.

About the incentive fund: The fund is designed to help develop the domestic production of environmentally friendly cars, including putting in place incentive programs to encourage innovation and otherwise make the sector competitive. The law defines “environmentally-friendly vehicles” as those with zero emissions or a smaller carbon footprint than traditional cars (including electric vehicles, dual-fuel, and other hybrid cars), with details on emissions standards for eligibility to follow.

Automotive bill #2: The bill allows Egyptian expats to import new cars and get an eventual rebate on all related fees if they pay upfront in FX. Expats will have four months following the publication of the law in the Official Gazette to register their personal information, details of the car they want to buy, and pay the required fees and taxes (customs fees, VAT, and other taxes) upfront to the Finance Ministry in FX. They’ll then have a year to finalize the purchase of their car and can get a full rebate on the dues in five years’ time in EGP, at the USD-EGP exchange rate at that time and without interest.

The details: The Finance Ministry is expected to publish a detailed list of the customs and required FX deposit sizes for different car models within two weeks of the law being published in the Official Gazette. Importers can also switch car models after registering their details as long as it’s still within the one-year window and they settle any difference in the value of the FX deposit.

FinMin expects big inflows of FX and cars: The scheme could raise up to USD 2.5 bn in FX, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said earlier this week. The state is hoping to see domestic distributors bring between 300-500k cars in the four-month window — a significant jump from average annual car imports of 150k a year, Maait said.

WHAT’S NEXT- The bills should now go to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi for signoff. Policymakers then have up to six months to finalize and publish the executive regulations for the bills.

M&A WATCH

The bidding war for Pachin is cooling off + EEP will get 56% of Selah El Telmeez

This morning brings updates on two M&A stories we’ve been tracking: Saybad’s bid for Pachin, which looks to be dead in the water following delays; and Egypt Education Platform and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt’s play for what we now know is a 56% stake in Selah El Telmeez.

Saybad Industrial Investment has abandoned its bid to take over EGX-listed paint company Paint and Chemical Industries (Pachin) after not being able to do due diligence on the firm, Maged Shawky, chairman of the company’s financial advisor, Catalyst Partners, told Enterprise. “The company’s tender offer — which was valid for 60 days — has expired, without Pachin allowing due diligence or conducting a fair value study,” Shawky said. Pachin came out with its own disclosure (pdf) to the EGX on Monday, claiming it had not been notified of Saybad’s decision.

Refresher: Saybad had been an eager bidder for Pachin, upping its offer by as much as 14% to EGP 16.50-18.75 per share after the company rejected its initial bid. The revision came on the heels of a rival bid from Universal Building Materials and Chemicals (Sipes), which had said it would purchase up to all of the company’s shares at EGP 17.50-18.50.

Where’s that fair value study? Pachin is expecting the results of a fair value study it told us it was planning to commission in August to come in by the end of this week, a source close to the transaction told Enterprise. Shawky told us yesterday that the firm is yet to share the results. “The fair value study’s results should be shared with the bidders in order for them to gauge whether the offer price is appropriate,” Shawky said.

Pachin could look to start the bidding afresh: Pachin plans to solicit interest from investors using the fair value study as a benchmark price, our source said, adding that the company would welcome offers from all investors — including those who already made prior bids — on that basis.

REMEMBER- The play for Pachin comes amid the government’s privatization push, which should see it reduce its involvement in or exit certain industries to make way for the private sector. Pachin is currently approximately 54% owned by state-owned companies and banks.

Advisors: Catalyst Partners acted as Saybad’s financial advisor. Adsero-Raji Soliman & Associates is the firm’s legal advisor. Pachin had tapped Al Ahly Pharos to help it “differentiate between bids submitted and negotiate the highest possible value for the share price.”


EEP + SFE get 56% of Selah El Telmeez: Egypt Education Platform (EEP) is acquiring a 51% stake in education platform Selah El Telmeez), a source with knowledge of the transaction told Enterprise. EEP is owned by EFG Hermes and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE). The SFE is separately acquiring a 5% stake as part of the transaction.

REFRESHER- EEP inked an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Selah El Telmeez last week. The acquisition will help the platform expand its digital footprint and widen its market share.

ADVISORS- EEP tapped White & Case as legal advisor, while Adsero-Ragy Soliman and Partners was counsel to the SFE. Al Tamimi & Co had sell-side duties.

CAPITAL MARKETS

Swvl could get booted off the Nasdaq + OIH joins the EGX buyback club

US- and locally-listed firms are steering their stock through choppy waters: Over on Wall Street, Cairo-born Swvl is reportedly considering combining (through a reverse stock split) or canceling some of its shares as it looks to avoid delisting due to low trading price. Closer to home, Orascom Investment Holding is the latest EGX-listed firm to announce a buyback program to support its stock.

Swvl could face delisting from the Nasdaq unless it can goose its share price: The ride-hailing startup has consistently traded below USD 1.00 per share since 20 September and is currently changing hands at around USD 0.64 per share. According to Nasdaq delisting rules, the index sends a deficiency notice to any company whose share price remains below USD 1.00 for 30 consecutive business days. The listed firm then has 180 calendar days to get its share price back up above the minimum threshold, or face delisting.

By our count, Swvl has until Monday, 31 October to bring its share price up before the Nasdaq sends it a deficiency notice.

Swvl wants to hold on: The company is looking into options including a reverse split or canceling shares in order to bump its share price and avoid getting kicked off the index, Al Mal reports, citing sources it says are in the know. Swvl shares have been steadily declining since the company’s Nasdaq debut at nearly USD 10.00 per share via a SPAC merger back in April.

Swvl is far from the only newly public firm that could stage a retreat: More than three quarters of US corporations that listed during pandemic bull times are now trading below their offering price, forcing the likes of ForgeRock, Poshmark and Casper Sleep to reverse course and return to the private markets, the Financial Times reports. Some 76% of the c. 400 US companies that listed between 2019 and 2021 and have raised a minimum of USD 100 mn have lost value, with a median return of -44% since their initial debut, the news outlet said, citing its analysis of Dealogic data.

PE firms are circling: Wall Street insiders say that private equity groups are on the lookout for bargains as valuations continue to tank amid a broader market rout. “When you think about the amount of private capital that has been raised that hasn’t been deployed, then look at how public equity valuations have re-rated, it feels like it’s going to be a natural pairing up,” said David Bauer, head of equity capital markets at PE giant KKR.


HERE AT HOME- Orascom Investment Holding (OIH) plans to buy back as much as 10% of its shares over the next 12 months, it said in a disclosure (pdf) to the EGX yesterday. The company said that the board has approved a plan that will see it purchase from the market up to 524.6 mn shares between now and 17 October, 2023. OIH did not disclose how much it expects to spend on the buyback program. Enterprise was unable to reach a company representative for comment.

OIH’s shares are down 9% YTD (better than the 15% dip of the wider EGX30). The company’s shares rose 3.9% during trading to close at EGP 0.21 yesterday.

The market downturn has led a number of companies to launch buyback programs this year: Egyptian Kuwait Holding, e-Finance, and Edita are among the major listed companies to have announced plans to buy back some of their shares in a bid to prop up their share prices.

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STARTUP WATCH

Fintech Nexta snags USD 3 mn from e-Finance + E-commerce startup Kenzz lands USD 3.5 mn seed round

Fintech startup Nexta has closed a USD 3 mn round led by EGX-listed e-payments giant e-Finance, according to a press release (pdf).

About Nexta: Founded by Ibrahim Farag (LinkedIn) and Ahmed Hisham (LinkedIn) in 2021, the company allows users to transfer money and aggregate their payment cards into a single Nexta card. The company concluded its first funding round in March, raising USD 2.2 mn led by Disruptech.

E-Finance “attaches great importance to supporting digital banking startups” in line with the central bank’s financial inclusion push, said e-Finance chief Ibrahim Sarhan. E-Finance has been on an aggressive expansion drive since listing, rolling out new lines of business, pushing into new geographies, and looking at what technologies it needs to incorporate into its platform going forward.


E-commerce startup Kenzz raised USD 3.5 mn in a seed funding round led by Outliers Venture Capital, according to a statement (pdf). Other participating VCs include HOF Capital, Foundation Ventures, and Samurai Incubate, alongside unnamed angel investors.

What’s Kenzz? Founded earlier this year by Ahmed Atef, Mahmoud Al Silk and Moataz Sami, the company’s e-commerce platform offers products direct from manufacturers and importers, emphasizing reliability and a sustainable growth model, according to the statement. It aims to bring a social dimension to online shopping by offering steeper discounts to customers who share or buy with friends and family.

Where will the money go? Kenzz will invest in expanding its team and product range, and to launch a new app.

FINTECH

PaySky brings Yalla to UAE next month

Yalla Super App is heading to the Gulf: Digital payments firm PaySky plans to launch its payments superapp Yalla Super App in the UAE next month as part of its USD 50 mn expansion to several countries in the region, PaySky founder and CEO Walid Sadek (Founder Of The Week) tells Enterprise. PaySky first launched its superapp in the local market with Egypt Post and Visa at the start of the year.

First up, UAE — with an eye on Egyptian expats’ remittances: PaySky will launch in the UAE in partnership with Visa, with plans to roll out its digital financial accounts Yalla Card, according to a press release (pdf). The app is targeting the estimated 800k Egyptian expats in the country, helping to easily transfer money to their families. The transferred funds could be withdrawn from any local ATM or branch of Egypt Post, the release reads.

Yalla is set to expand to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the first quarter of 2023 and to Pakistan in 2Q 2023, Sadek tells us. He said that PaySky has set up shop in the KSA, partnering with an unspecified financial institution. KSA is among the region’s most developed fintech markets, he said, and Riyadh offers an easier process in setting up business and a low cost to obtain licenses.

BACKGROUND: The Yalla Super App and card allows customers to transfer money, pay bills, and shop online. Institutions and merchants can collect payments, sell products online, disburse salaries to employees, and pay suppliers through its platform.

GO DEEPER ON SUPER APPS- Egypt and the wider region are proving fertile ground for the do-everything apps, with MNT-Halan and MyFawry joining Yalla Super App among key players in the market. Head to our three-part What’s Next series tackling superapps’ emergence in Egypt, the challenges they face, and why they’re probably still worth the investment.

OTHER FINTECH NEWS worth knowing about this morning:

  • EFG Hermes’ consumer finance platform valU will offer installment services to WE customers under an agreement signed with Telecom Egypt. (Statement, pdf)
  • Fintech startup Mazaid will provide financial services to dentists and their patients under an agreement with the Egyptian Dental Syndicate. (Statement, pdf)

PRIVATE EQUITY

Catalyst launches corporate venture arm

Impact investor Catalyst Partners has launched a corporate VC arm, dubbed Serv Startup. The unit will look to acquire minority stakes primarily in the fintech and digital lending sectors, Chairman Maged Shawky told Enterprise. Serv Startup is looking at early-stage startups that have already developed minimum viable products, he said. Shawky declined to say how much the unit has to invest.

Serv Startup will be looking to acquire a “handful” of minority stakes in firms that it hopes to integrate into Catalyst Partners’ business at a later stage, provided they support the firm’s business well, Shawky said. The company is looking to make its first investment in 1Q2023, he added.

SOUND SMART- Corporate VC is what it sounds like — when established companies invest in startups. Corporate VCs often invest in startups that complement the investing companies’ operations, writes Harvard Business Review. Among the first to jump on the trend in Egypt was CIB’s CVentures.

ALSO- Catalyst’s SME-focused fund is in talks to acquire a pharma company and another in the industrials sector, Shawky said, without disclosing the names of the companies. The acquisitions are awaiting final approval from the company’s board of directors, he added. The Catalyst Capital Egypt Fund — which reached its targeted EGP 450 mn first close earlier this year — focuses on sectors that are “defensive” in terms of growth and earnings, including agricultural manufacturing, pharma, and logistics.

MOVES

Hilton has appointed Ahmed El Hady (LinkedIn) as its new country manager and senior director of operations for Egypt, it said in a statement (pdf). El Hady has almost 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and joins Hilton after a five-year stint as the general manager of Doha-based hotel investment firm Al Rayyan Tourism Investment. He will now be responsible for leading Hilton Egypt’s operational strategy, which will see a number of brands such as the Waldorf Astoria entering Egypt for the first time.

Payment facilitator CowPay has appointed Mohamed Abu Khadra (LinkedIn) as its CEO, succeeding Hussain Al Manawi, who joined the company’s board, Zawya reports. Abu Khadra joins the firm from Huawei where he served as a marketing director. He has previous experience working in fintech having spent 10 years as marketing director at Bee Smart Payment Solutions.

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LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

El Sisi’s meeting with industry players dominated the airwaves last night. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi held a meeting with a delegation of Egyptian business leaders and investors a range of industries yesterday, Ittihadiya said in a statement. Government officials showcased potential projects and highlighted incentives to boost local and foreign investment. Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 5:00) and Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 7:53) were among those covering the news.

ICYMI- We have a few ideas of our own on the once-in-a-century chance to boost FDI and turn the country into an export powerhouse. Consider discussing them when you attend the Madbouly government’s hotly anticipated economic conference, which will take place Sunday-Tuesday next week.

Keeping communication lines open: The president highlighted the significance of maintaining direct communication with investors and the local business community as part of the state’s efforts towards comprehensive development, the statement read. Some of the other main talking points out of yesterday’s sit-down:

  • Around “75% of the Egyptian economy is in the hands of the private sector,” El Sisi said, according to Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 3:15).
  • El Sisi said import issues will be resolved in a month or two, Agriculture Export Council head Abdel Hamid El Demerdash told Salat El Tahrir (watch, runtime: 5:04). “The meeting was very fruitful and encouraging,” he added.

ALSO- Car dealers are all for the expat car import scheme that the House passed yesterday: “This move will help stabilize prices and once again stimulate the local passenger car market,” one car dealer told Kelma Akhira (watch, runtime: 1:52). Used car dealers will benefit most from the decision, another said. Catch the full story on the scheme in our Automotive section, above.

The decision will also help reduce the black market for passenger cars, Noureldin Darwish, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce’s auto division, told Hadret Al Mowaten (watch, runtime: 4:38).

Milk expats for FX: Hopefully this will be the first in a series of decisions aimed at attracting more FX from Egyptian expats, head of the car traders’ federation Osama Abou El Magd told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 11:43).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

German media is looking at our green hydrogen plans this morning: Public broadcaster Deutsche Welle notes that COP27 will see the unveiling of the government’s hydrogen strategy as well the signing of final contracts for several production facilities.

Also making headlines:

  • The AP takes another look at how the surging USD has made local currencies — including the EGP — weaker, driving up the cost of basic goods and services, making imports more expensive and “causing pain” across the world. (AP)
  • The Guardian is out with two pieces on human rights: An interview with prominent human rights activist Sanaa Seif and a long-read from Naomi Klein, who argues that the upcoming COP27 summit is helping the government “greenwash” its human rights record.
  • DIY electric car: One Egyptian teacher spent EGP 60k to transform his 1985 Fiat into an EV. (Reuters | watch, runtime: 1:57)

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Tutoring centers could go legit: Private tutoring centers will have to get licensed by the Education Ministry, Education Minister Reda Hegazy yesterday told the House of Representatives, according to Youm7. Last year, the Tax Authority demanded that tutoring center owners start paying taxes, though the industry remains part of the informal economy and isn’t governed by legislation.

5-star schools? Private schools will soon be classified using the star system, like hotels, Hegazy told the House, Al Mal reports. The rating will measure the quality of education and will affect the price points set by certain schools. The ministry will also launch a digital platform for the school licensing process, he added.

MEANWHILE- KarmSolar will build an EGP 500 mn solar plant to power dairy company Juhayna’s Wadi El Gedid farm. (Zawya)

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

  • Officials from the Oil Ministry have held talks with Finnish telecoms company Nokia over potential cooperation on the ministry’s digital transformation strategy for the mining and oil and gas industries. (Statement)
  • The Musicians’ Syndicate announced a temporary ban on mahraganat singers to “study their case to preserve Egypt’s artistic value.” (Statement, pdf)

PLANET FINANCE

Powered by
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Bloomberg is the latest to predict a US recession, saying yesterday that it is "effectively certain" the economy will enter contraction over the next year after its model showed a 100% probability of recession by October 2023. This comes as the Federal Reserve continues to aggressively hike interest rates in a battle against rising inflation, a policy stance that some analysts say could force the economy into a deep downturn.

Overseas businesses backed in USD are hurting: North American companies suffered a staggering USD 34.3 bn in losses in 2Q 2022 due to the soaring USD, Bloomberg reports citing the treasury-management software company Kyriba Corp. This is the greatest amount of currency losses ever recorded by the firm, whose data go back to 2013. The greenback has surged to its highest level in 20 years this year as the Federal Reserve has raised rates, hurting multinationals’ overseas revenues.

3Q earnings could be even worse: The USD reached new highs during the July-September period, causing currency volatility to intensify. Economic slowdown overseas — another key headwind facing US firms — also continued, with the European energy crisis intensifying and the Chinese economy continuing to slow.

Saudi Arabia is offering to buy back USD 15.5 bn of its debt while mulling the sale of USD-denominated sukuk and bonds, Bloomberg reports, citing an unnamed source. Our friends at HSBC are quarterbacking the transaction as bookrunners and dealer managers, alongside BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs.

Up

EGX30

10,164

+0.5% (YTD: -14.9%)

None

USD (CBE)

Buy 19.62

Sell 19.73

None

USD at CIB

Buy 19.65

Sell 19.71

None

Interest rates CBE

11.25% deposit

12.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

11,810

+2.1% (YTD: +4.7%)

Up

ADX

10,084

+3.5% (YTD: +18.8%)

Up

DFM

3,410

+1.0% (YTD: +6.7%)

Up

S&P 500

3,720

+1.1% (YTD: -22.0%)

Up

FTSE 100

6,937

+0.2% (YTD: -6.1%)

Up

Euro Stoxx 50

3,464

+0.6% (YTD: -19.4%)

Up

Brent crude

USD 90.70

+0.7%

Down

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 5.71

-0.5%

Up

Gold

USD 1,657.40

+0.1%

Down

BTC

USD 19,265

-1.7% (YTD: -58.3%)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 0.2% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.25 bn (20.9% above the 90-day average). Foreign investors were net sellers. The index is down 14.9% YTD.

In the green: Eastern Company (+3.6%), Housing and Development Bank (+2.9%) and e-Finance (+2.9%).

In the red: AMOC (-11.0%), Abu Qir Fertilizers (-7.2%) and Alexandria Container and Cargo Handling (-2.1%).

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The private sector’s inclusion in the Universal Health Ins. System is going to spur investments — and raise the quality of service provision: Egypt’s Universal Health Ins. System (UHIS) is bringing the private sector on board with the public sector to address healthcare needs, which is effectively a “paradigm shift” in healthcare service delivery and financing, the World Bank recently noted in a report. Investors Enterprise spoke with said the growing role of the private sector under the UHIS is encouraging, and they expect competition between private and public providers to improve healthcare quality.

Private sector players are keeping a close eye on developments and looking for investment potential: "The UHIS has a huge potential to encourage private sector investment,” Elevate Healthcare CEO Tarek Moharram told Enterprise. “We've been following its latest developments for years, and the latest relaunch has a solid plan that gives us hope that implementation will be serious.”

How the UHIS will involve the private sector: The new system will allow patients to choose their service providers, and both private and public providers will be hired using a set fee schedule and output-based contracts. The expected rise in healthcare spending will likely encourage the private sector to make additional investments, sources from EFG Hermes told us. The state will also include intensive care, MRI and CT scans to its ins. offering, which will be impossible to achieve without the help of the private sector, Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar recently said.

Private healthcare expenditure is expected to double by 2025, driven by the UHIS, healthcare investment professionals told us.The UHIS will unlock a huge healthcare market segment, they told us, adding that their market research expects private investments to more than double to EGP 322 bn by 2025, from EGP 154 bn in 2019.

Healthcare is getting more public investments, too: The healthcare investment budget is currently the fourth largest in Egypt's total public budget, trailing the allocations for public services, social protection, and education. According to the report, healthcare services received an average of 5.2% of total government spending from FY2016 to FY2021, which is equivalent to 1.5% of GDP. Public investments in healthcare is set at EGP 34.1 bn in FY 2022-2023, almost a 30% increase from the EGP 26.4 bn that was earmarked for FY 2021-2022.

Egypt's healthcare spending as a share of GDP lags behind global averages: According to World Bank data, our government spending is below the MENA average of 6.4% and well below the global average of 10%. It is also less than in Morocco and Tunisia, which have comparable per capita incomes but spend 6-7% of their GDP on health care.

As a result, the public sector has been unable to keep up with population growth. The number of public hospitals has decreased by 1.1% over the last decade, according to the report. Meanwhile, the population grew by 25.6% during the same time period, the report notes.

Egypt’s healthcare infrastructure is underserved and suffering from a massive shortfall in hospital bed capacity. Egypt currently has 1.3 beds per 1k citizens, based on the latest data from 2019. That’s below the MENA average of 1.5 beds per 1k, and well below the 4.4 beds per 1k capita for most OECD countries during the same year — though the World Bank notes that it is almost double the ratio for lower middle-income countries.

The private sector has been stepping in to plug shortages: The number of private hospitals in the country rose 10% over the last decade and private beds have increased by 38%. Private healthcare providers now manage 28% of hospital beds in the health system, official figures cited by the report suggest. The private sector could also help to improve service quality. “An essential part of our work is to expand access to quality healthcare,” Moharram tells us.

The UHIS pricing scheme will be key to bringing in more private players: A top-up pricing method would cover the basic medical costs, and would allow patients to pay extra fees out-of-pocket if they want to opt for specific medical providers, private healthcare players told us. “This would limit abuse of the system, and avoid any potential shortfall in quality that could come out of unified pricing, which could lead to standardization of services,” Moharram says. There is currently a pricing strategy committee with private sector representatives, which is “promising,” he adds.

More than 4.5 mn Egyptians have so far been registered on the UHIS, officials recently said. The system is being progressively rolled out across Egypt, and is currently available in Port Said, Luxor, Ismailia, and South Sinai. All the country’s health facilities will be included in the UHIS by 2032, officials said earlier this month.

Investors are looking for more elaboration from the government on how the partnership between the public and private sector will work. After implementing the UHIS in a few governorates, the government indicated it is willing to make some changes and improvements, which is “encouraging,” EFG Hermes sources said.

One significant roadblock to overcome is licensing. Egypt's lack of a comprehensive regulatory system creates roadblocks and lengthy, complicated processes that make entry into the private healthcare sector difficult, according to the report. Requirements and regulations make it difficult for the private sector to become involved in primary care. Outpatient clinics, for example, can only be owned by certified physicians.

The UHIS could pave the way for private players to expand their presence across Egypt, Elevate Healthcare’s strategy was largely built with the UHIS in mind, and the one-year-old firm has been expanding its operations across Upper Egypt and the Delta since its inception, Moharram says. “We expect to be present in all governorates over the next two years,” he says. Private clinics are currently more common in cities than in rural areas, the report says.


Your top infrastructure stories for the week:

  • Schneider Electric launched three automated power distribution control centers worth around EGP 1.8 bn in Greater Cairo.
  • Telecom Egypt and US-based internet provider Lumen Technologies collaborate to build Lumen’s first regional network node in Egypt.
  • The Suez Canal Economic Zone will offer up new services to ships including bunkering and catering starting 1Q 2023.
  • A consortium that includes several unnamed UAE companies is reportedly looking at establishing a large-scale logistics hub at an unspecified Egyptian airport.

CALENDAR

OCTOBER

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

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

16-19 October (Sunday-Wednesday): Cairo Water Week 2022, Nile Ritz Carlton, Cairo.

17 October (Monday): Fifth Egypt and UN-led regional climate roundtable ahead of COP27, Geneva, Switzerland.

18 October (Tuesday): The Egyptian-Swedish business forum, Stockholm, Sweden.

23-25 ​​October (Sunday-Tuesday): Egypt economic conference, Cairo, Egypt.

24 October (Monday): Empowering Sustainable Trade Flows with Factoring conference, St. Regis Cairo.

26-28 October (Wednesday-Friday): Egypt celebrates 50 years of ties with the UAE.

27 October (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

27-30 October (Thursday-Sunday): Cairo ICT, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

30 October-1 November (Sunday-Tuesday): Egypt Energy, Egypt International Exhibition Center (EIEC), New Cairo.

Late October-14 November: 3Q2022 earnings season.

Late October: First Abu Dhabi Bank to complete full integration with Bank Audi’s Egyptian operations after merger.

NOVEMBER

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

1-2 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): Arab League annual summit, Algiers, Algeria.

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): Autotech auto exhibition, Cairo International Exhibition and Convention Center.

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

7 November (Monday): The inauguration of the first line of the high-speed rail.

9 November (Wednesday): Finance Ministry to host “Finance Day” at COP27.

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.

27 – 28 November (Thursday-Friday): The first edition of the Egypt Media Forum.

DECEMBER

3 December (Saturday): Dior Men’s pre-fall collection show in Giza.

13-14 December (Tuesday-Wednesday): Federal Reserve interest rate meeting.

13-15 December (Tuesday-Thursday): US-Africa Leaders Summit.

15 December (Thursday): European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

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

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

December: Egyptian Automotive Summit.

December: Egypt to expand Sudan electricity link capacity to 300 MW.

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.

1 January (Sunday): Use of Nafeza becomes compulsory for air freight.

1 January (Sunday): Residential electricity bills are set to rise as per the government’s six-year roadmap (pdf) to restructure electricity prices by 2025.

7 January (Saturday): Coptic Christmas.

24 January-6 February: The 54th Cairo International Book Fair, Egypt International Exhibition Center

25 January (Wednesday): 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

26 January (Thursday): National holiday in observance of 25 January revolution anniversary / Police Day.

30 January-1 February (Monday-Wednesday): CI Capital’s Annual MENA Investor Conference 2023, Cairo, Egypt.

FEBRUARY 2023

11 February (Saturday): Second semester of 2022-2023 academic year begins for public universities.

13-15 February (Monday-Wednesday): The Egypt Petroleum Show (Egyps), Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo.

23-27 February (Thursday-Monday): The eighth annual Business Women of Egypt’s Women for Success conference.

MARCH 2023

March: 4Q2022 earnings season.

23 March (Wednesday): First day of Ramadan (TBC). Maghreb will be at 6:08pm CLT.

APRIL 2023

17 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim.

22 April (Saturday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

25 April (Tuesday): Sinai Liberation Day.

27 April (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Sinai Liberation Day (TBC).

Late April – 15 May: 1Q2023 earnings season.

MAY 2023

1 May (Monday): Labor Day.

4 May (Thursday) National holiday in observance of Labor Day (TBC).

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

JUNE 2023

19-21 June (Monday-Wednesday) Egypt Infrastructure and Water Expo debuts at the Egypt International Exhibition Center.

28 June-2 July (Wednesday-Sunday): Eid El Adha (TBC).

30 June (Friday): June 30 Revolution Day.

JULY 2023

18 July (Tuesday): Islamic New Year.

20 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Islamic New Year (TBC).

23 July (Sunday): Revolution Day.

27 July (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Revolution Day.

Late July-14 August: 2Q2023 earnings season.

SEPTEMBER 2023

26 September (Tuesday): Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).

28 September (Thursday): National holiday in observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (TBC).

OCTOBER 2023

6 October (Friday): Armed Forces Day.

Late October-14 November: 3Q2023 earnings season.

EVENTS WITH NO SET DATE

2H 2022: The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

2H 2022: IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum, Egypt. Date + location TBA.

2H 2022: The government will have vaccinated 70% of the population.

3Q 2022: Ayady’s consumer financing arm, The Egyptian Company for Consumer Finance Services, to release its first financing product.

3Q 2022: Swvl to close acquisition of Urbvan Mobility.

4Q 2022: Infinity + Africa Finance Corporation to close acquisition of Lekela Power.

4Q 2022: Electricity Ministry to tender six solar projects in Aswan Governorate.

4Q2022: Raya Holding subsidiary Aman and Qalaa Holdings’ Taqa Arabia to launch their fintech company.

4Q 2022: Saudi Jamjoom Pharma to inaugurate its EGP 1 bn pharma factory in El Obour.

End of 2022: Decent Life first phase scheduled for completion.

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.

1Q 2023: Adnoc Distribution’s acquisition of 50% of TotalEnergies Egypt to close.

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