Tuesday, 15 November 2022

AM — With just four days left at COP27, Egypt calls on countries to come to a “meaningful” agreement

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends, and happy hump day. There are just four days left of COP27 and it’s looking tense in Sharm as negotiators look for a way to reach an agreement that will cut emissions and mobilize tons of capital for climate finance. COP27 President Sameh Shoukry reiterated yesterday his plea for a “meaningful” climate agreement. “It is now up to us all here to rise to the occasion and respond to the demands and calls from our communities around the world. We will accept no less than meaningful outcomes at COP27,” he told the summit. “Time is not on our side and the world is watching. Let us come together and deliver now.”

Are we inching toward an agreement on loss-and-damage? The UN published a draft text (pdf) for a potential pact on loss and damage financing, giving us a first glimpse of what a global agreement on climate financing could look like. Reuters cautions that the text could change significantly before the end of the summit, and landing an agreement won’t be easy: US climate envoy John Kerry put it bluntly last week, telling the conference that “it’s just not happening.”

Egypt still has hope: Egypt wants to get all countries on board with a “cover text” by Friday, Shoukry said yesterday. This will set out agreed targets and commitments and provide a framework for negotiations to continue at next year’s COP28.

“‘This could be the COP where we lose 1.5°C,” warned COP26 chief Alok Sharma, as “anxiety grows over a push from some countries to weaken the text” particularly as regards loss and damage, the Guardian reports.

** Need to go deeper on what happened yesterday? Enterprise Climate has got your back.

HAPPENING TODAY IN SHARM-

It’s Energy Day at the summit, featuring sessions on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy transformation focusing on a just transition in the energy sector. Green hydrogen is expected to step into the spotlight as a potential energy source for the future. High-level officials and energy transition champions will kick off the day with a series of opening remarks setting the stage for the “energy trilemma” the world is facing.

Another green hydrogen agreement today? Masdar, Hassan Allam Utilities and Infinity are expected to sign a MoU with the government for a USD 2 bn, 2-GW green hydrogen project at the conference today.

BACKGROUND- Masdar and HAU announced plans to establish green hydrogen plants in Egypt back in April. Hassan Allam Holding CEO Amr Allam said last month that the two companies will invest USD 10 bn in the project, which is expected to produce up to 480k tons of green hydrogen a year.

That might not be the only one: We can expect more green hydrogen MoUs signed between Egypt and investment partners to materialize into contracts “in the coming hours and days,” Egypt climate czar Mahmoud Mohieldin told Masaa DMC in an interview last night (watch, runtime: 21:23).

HAPPENING TODAY ABROAD-

The G20 summit is underway: G20 leaders are in Indonesia for the 2022 G20 summit which is taking place in Bali today and tomorrow. The Financial Times is reporting that countries will sign on to a communique today rejecting an “era of war,” though it appears that some members declined to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The diplomacy started a day early yesterday when US President Joe Biden and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping met for the first time since Biden became president last year. Though the two failed to see eye-to-eye over Taiwan, the reaction in the press is broadly positive, with global media declaring that the meeting has helped to cool tensions between the rivals and lowered fears over a new Cold War. The story is dominating the foreign press this morning: Reuters | AP | Bloomberg | WSJ NYT | CNBC.

As the summit begins, the IMF is back with more gloomy economic forecasts: In a blog post yesterday, IMF economist Tryggvi Gudmundsson said the global economic outlook is “gloomier” than even a month ago, when it cut its global growth forecast to 2.7% from 2.9%. Economic indicators including PMI readings show a growing number of G20 countries across both advanced and emerging economies slipping into contraction territory — even as high inflation calls for continued monetary and fiscal tightening, he wrote.

Wishful thinking? The IMF calls for “careful policy action and joint multilateral efforts” to help the world move toward “stronger and more inclusive growth” — in what could be a tall order for the G20 summit, which convenes amid heightened geopolitical tensions between major powers as war continues in Ukraine and China-US relations see strain.

The good news for the global economy? A US recession isn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion. Morgan Stanley analysts are now forecasting the US economy to dodge a recession next year thanks to a strong jobs market, according to a series of reports picked up by Reuters. The EU and the UK? They’re not likely to be so lucky, with the investment bank predicting recessions next year.

THE BIG STORIES ABROAD-

KSA’s Public Investment Fund has signed up as anchor investor for global asset manager BlackRock’s USD 620 bn (Saudi-focused) MENA infrastructure fund, according to a statement. BlackRock will set up a “dedicated infrastructure investment team” in Riyadh if the non-binding MoU becomes reality.

What does the BlackRock fund like? Energy, power, utilities, water, environment, transportation, telecommunications and social infrastructure. While the fund will invest across the region, Saudi will be its center of gravity.

WATCH THIS SPACE- Among the things happening internationally this week that you’ll want to keep an eye on:

  • Agent Orange Former US President Donald Trump is expected to announce tonight that he will mount a campaign to retake the White House.
  • After 50 years away, Nasa is looking to go back to the moon on Wednesday with the launch of Artemis.
  • We’re less than a week away from the kickoff at the World Cup in Qatar, with things getting underway on Sunday, 20 November as the hosts face Ecuador.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES-

#1- Amazon is the latest to announce mass layoffs: E-commerce giant Amazon could fire as many as 10k workers, Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

That sounds like a lot, but it would account for less than 1% of e-commerce giant’s global workforce, which was estimated at over 1.5 mn people at the end of September.

Amazon is just the latest global tech giant to announce cuts: Facebook parent Meta, Twitter and Microsoft Corp have all in the past month said they would cut back on staff in response to challenging economic conditions.

#2- Welcome to the multi-metaverse: Recent job listings by Apple indicate that the firm could be working on its own metaverse-esque virtual environment, Bloomberg writes. Just don’t expect Apple to ever use that term…

enterprise

From Sharm to the Grand Egyptian Museum — the business community will move the talk about a green transition ahead at the Enterprise Climate X Forum, which takes place at the Grand Egyptian Museum on Tuesday, 6 December 2022. We can think of no better place to discuss the world’s most important industry than in a world-class museum that stands as a testament to our nation’s ability to persevere (and innovate) for seven millennia. And it seems you can’t either, judging by the responses and statements of support we’ve been getting.

What’s the Enterprise Climate X Forum? It’s our first industry-specific conference, where CEOs, top execs, investors, bankers and development finance folks have the chance to talk about how to build a climate-centered business — and how to make sure your business continues to have access to the funds it needs to grow. You can learn more on our conference website here.

Some of the biggest names in business and finance are on board — are you? If you’re a C-suite exec, business owner, climate professional, DFI staff, investor or banker, please email us at climatexrsvp@enterprisemea.com to signal your interest, letting us know your name, title and where you work.

8 BN PEOPLE ON EARTH TODAY

7,999,999,999 becomes 8,000,000,000 today: The world’s population has hit 8 bn today, only 11 years after reaching 7 bn, according to the UN. Improvements in public health, medicine, hygiene and nutrition have caused the global population to surge in the 20th century, with the number of people on the planet doubling over the past 48 years.

The rate of growth could start to taper: The UN expects us to pass the 9 bn milestone in around 15 years (c.2037) while the 10 bn mark might not be surpassed until the end of the century.

Unfortunately, Egypt will be exempt from the global slowdown: Egypt is among eight nations where more than half of the projected increase in the world’s population up to 2050 will be concentrated, according to UN forecasts released last month. Egypt’s population has now surpassed 104 mn, rising by more than 1 mn this year alone, and is expected to near 160 mn by 2050

MARKET WATCH-

OPEC has cut its oil demand estimates again as it implements production cuts it says are intended to balance the markets, citing a slowdown in global growth and ongoing covid lockdowns in China, Bloomberg reports. The oil cartel reduced its forecast for the amount of petroleum it needs to supply in 4Q 2022 by 520k barrels per day, following a similar cut last month. The move brings OPEC’s demand forecasts in line with the 2 mn bpd supply cut it made last month, which drew criticism from US President Joe Biden, who had been pushing for help to boost supply. Brent crude futures are trading at around USD 93 a barrel this morning, having retreated from peaks of above USD 120 per barrel following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

enterprise

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AUTOMOTIVE

It’s lift-off for the expat car-for-FX scheme

Cabinet is out with the rules and regulations for the expat car import scheme: The Madbouly government launches incentives to get Egyptian expats to import cars with foreign-currency today, and yesterday released details of the rules and regulations for the scheme, according to two separate statements (here and here). The rules were published yesterday in the Official Gazette, triggering the start of the scheme, which President Abdel Fattah El Sisi signed into law at the end of last month.

How it works: The government will go live with an app dubbed “Sayarat masryeen bel khareg” (Egyptian Cars from Abroad) — which doesn’t appear to have landed on app stores just yet — which will automatically calculate the required USD payment for expats based on the car model they choose to import. Participants in the scheme will then need to pay the dues — which include customs fees, VAT, schedule tax, and development fees — in USD to a National Bank of Egypt account set up by the government before 28 February 2023. They should then submit proof of payment on the app, after which they will receive a letter approving the car import within a week. The rules also clarify that expats need only carry a residency permit abroad or a non-Egyptian passport to be eligible.

REFRESHER- Under the law, expats will be able to bring cars into Egypt, paying customs fees, VAT, and other taxes upfront in FX. They will then receive a full rebate on the dues in five years’ time — paid in EGP at the USD-EGP exchange rate at that time and without interest. This comes as the state works to boost FX inflows into the country.

Course correction: The government had originally said the scheme will pave the way for 300k-500k cars being imported, drawing USD 2.5 bn in foreign currency in the process, but industry players we spoke with are skeptical, saying local demand for imported vehicles sits at around 120k a year. Officials started walking back the 300k-500k car estimate in appearances on Last Night’s Talk Shows (below).

M&A WATCH

Vodacom wants to launch its superapp with Alibaba in Egypt

Vodacom is already making plans for Egypt: Vodafone’s South African subsidiary plans to launch financial services products in Egypt through its Vodapay superapp that it is developing with Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group, its CEO, Shameel Joosub, told Bloomberg yesterday. The company hopes to soon enter Egypt with the EUR 2.34 bn (USD 2.7 bn) acquisition of Vodafone Group’s majority stake in Vodafone Egypt, which Vodacom shareholders approved in January. Vodapay is modeled on Alibaba’s Alipay ⁠— the world’s largest digital wallet ⁠— and provides access to a suite of financial services including online shopping, loans, and mobile payments.

Not so fast? The companies are still waiting for approval from Egyptian regulators, who have been silent on the transaction since the agreement was first announced back in November 2021. Sources at the Financial Regulatory Authority and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority told us yesterday that no decision has been made on the sale, which is still the subject of a national security review.

CLIMATE CEO POLL

The Enterprise Climate CEO Poll: EBRD’s Harry Boyd-Carpenter

Enterprise Climate CEO Poll- Harry Boyd-Carpenter: With just a few days to go until COP27 winds down in Sharm El Sheikh, Enterprise Climate and EnterpriseAM is continuing its inaugural Climate CEO poll. Our series of interviews with top C-suite execs and business leaders covers key issues being raised at the summit, including climate finance, regulation, and the green economy.

Harry Boyd-Carpenter (LinkedIn) is the managing director of climate strategy and delivery at the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), one of the world’s largest multilateral development banks and the organization leading the energy pillar of Egypt’s Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) initiative, which aims to add 10 GW of renewable power generation capacity and wind down 5 GW of gas-fired power plants by 2028. We talked to Boyd-Carpenter about the bank’s role in NWFE, and why the lender is placing importance on developing Egypt’s renewable energy sector.

“The basic premise of NWFE is that Egypt is a green energy superpower,” Boyd-Carpenter tells us. “In the world we are going into, anybody who has lots of windy, sunny desert is a superpower in a way that, historically, anybody who had lots of oil and gas was a superpower. The one thing you want in the emerging, decarbonized economy is huge quantities of low-cost renewable electricity, and Egypt is incredibly well positioned to have that.”

NWFE is designed to help the country capitalize on that superpower potential, Boyd-Carpenter says. The obstacles to upping renewables capacity include a lack of investment in the national grid, and how to manage the surplus created by existing gas-powered plants, he explains. “It makes sense for Egypt to start closing those plants because this will result in cheaper electricity, and additional gas that can be used for export,” as well as helping to cut our carbon emissions and conserve water.

“The next step is to build 10 GW of renewables, for which Egypt will need international support from international partners, which will then be used to build out the transmission network, invest in transmission lines, and battery technology,” Boyd-Carpenter says. The EBRD is committing USD 300 mn in sovereign loans for public assets like the transmission network, and up to USD 1 bn for the renewable projects themselves.

Conditions are ideal for private-sector investment: Support from international partners including the US and European countries, combined with the government’s pledge to look at adopting more ambitious renewable targets in an agreement on NWFE announced at COP, have set the stage for an influx of flows from the private sector, he predicts. “What you've got here is you've got everybody coming to the party,” he says. “I think that most of the USD 10 bn in investments needed for this pillar can come from the private sector.”

When it comes to climate finance, balance is key — and each project demands a tailored approach. Renewable energy “can largely be financed with private money because it's a highly competitive, well-understood technology,” while adaptation “needs significant public support, because it's very hard to monetize adaptation benefits.” Green hydrogen projects fall somewhere in between — they can largely be financed with private money, but need some public support because the product is still not competitive, Boyd-Carpenter says. “You need a balance, and you need to tailor the financing instrument to the project and the product you're trying to sell.”

“You have to look at the picture holistically,” he adds. “It's no good setting it up so that multilateral development banks (MDBs) can lend a lot of money to a project if there's no demand for that money or if there's fiscal constraints.” NWFE exemplifies this holistic approach. Public money for the transmission network and to close old plants will create space in the sector to generate new energy with the help of USD 10 bn private money. “If any one of those components is missing, none of the others will work,” Boyd-Carpenter says.

The lender is eyeing several renewable energy projects in Egypt: EBRD is an investor in Infinity Power and so is looking at their 200 MW Ras Ghareb wind farm, and at the 1.1 GW ACWA Power wind project, Boyd-Carpenter says. Financing for the newly announced 28 GW worth of wind projects could also be on the table, though no agreements have yet been made since the projects are at a very early stage, Boyd-Carpenter says. “We financed Lekela’s West Bakr wind farm, and are involved in Orascom Construction, Engie and Toyota Tsusho’s in-progress 500-MW facility. People come to us before they come to anyone else. We hope we can make them a good offer.” The lender is also helping the government tender off more of the 350 MW of unutilized capacity at Benban solar park, Boyd-Carpenter tells us.

The EBRD will continue to make midstream oil and gas investments but “only where we think it accelerates decarbonization,” Boyd-Carpenter says. “The obvious cases for that are countries which have a lot of coal, because if you’re going to get off coal, especially if you're using it to generate heat, you’re going to go to gas. There's a middle ground, which is really tricky. We have a whole methodology that helps us think through that problem. We look at things like, is there a low-carbon pathway? Is there a lock-in risk?”

The bank wants to invest EUR 1 bn a year in Egypt but it could do even more if it finds the right project, Boyd-Carpenter says. “We at EBRD are private-sector led. We don't necessarily say it publicly, but we're opportunistic. Often, we'll finance a project in November that we didn’t even know about in January, because it will come up during the year and we have the flexibility and the agility to jump on it.”

LEGISLATION WATCH

Senate tweaks FX-for-tax cut plan, contractors bill clears committee in the House

What happened in the upper and lower houses of parliament yesterday?

#1- The contractor compensation bill is heading to the House general assembly: The House Housing Committee yesterday gave a final approval to amendments that would see the government pay compensation to contractors who have suffered losses on the back of recent economic reforms such as the EGP float. The Senate green-lit the move at the end of October.

Remember: MPs are currently on recess because of COP27 and will return on Sunday, 20 November.

#2- Senate tweaks FX-for-tax cuts bill: The Senate made a minor change to draft amendments that would grant income tax breaks to investors who use FX to finance at least half of the cost of their projects. The change to the proposed amendments to the 2017 Investment Act would now have companies receive a tax cut ranging between 15% and 55% on income generated by projects funded by FX, instead of up to 55%. Senators approved the legislation on Sunday.

#3- Term limits for attachés: The Senate gave a final nod to amendments to a 1982 law regulating the performance of Egyptian diplomatic and consular corps. The one-article bill allows the foreign minister to recruit employees affiliated with ministries to act as technical attachés at diplomatic and consular missions abroad for one-year renewable terms, rather than for an indefinite number of years currently.

What’s next: The bill will make its way to the House of Representatives to be discussed and passed.

FYI- The Senate has adjourned and will return on Sunday 27 November.

IN THE HOUSE NEXT WEEK-

The House Housing committee will discuss government-drafted amendments to the Unified Building Code, committee chairman Rep. Emad Hammouda said. The changes to the code — which has already been amended multiple times since it was passed in March 2020 — are expected to resolve some of the problems of the legislation.

EARNINGS WATCH

Edita, GB Auto, e-Finance, ODE and EKH report 3Q 2022 earnings

Bold-name companies were in with buzzer-beaters as 3Q earnings season winds down. Real estate players continued to post strong results, as have food, investment, automotive, consumer finance and payments players. Here’s the rundown:

EDITA

Edita Food Industries reported record net income and revenues in 3Q 2022 on the back of stronger sales and higher prices, the company said in its quarterly earnings release (pdf) yesterday. Quarterly revenues rose 45% y-o-y to an all-time high of EGP 2 bn, while profits more than doubled to EGP 286.1 mn.

Sales volumes rose almost 20% y-o-y during the quarter, with cakes being the biggest contributor to the growth. The cakes segment also accounted for the bulk of revenues, bringing in more than EGP 1 bn, up 66% from a year earlier. Meanwhile, bakery revenues rose 36% to EGP 710 mn, while wafers was the only segment that saw a decline in revenues, falling 1% to EGP 140.7 mn. Revenues were also supported by the company’s decision to hike prices by an average 42.5% per ton.

What they said: “Edita was successful in reaching new results records as it continued to expand its top-line despite an increasingly challenging operating environment,” it said.

GB AUTO

GB Auto reported record quarterly profits in 3Q 2022 despite disruptions in the local car market weighing on revenues, according to the company’s latest earnings release (pdf). The company reported a EGP 550.7 mn profit for the July-September period, up 66% on a year earlier, even as revenues fell 13% on the back of the government’s import restrictions and supply shortages, which caused the car market to contract 54% on a year earlier, the company said.

GB Capital offsets difficulties in the car market: A 43% drop-off in passenger car sales contributed to a 21% decline in revenues from the company’s auto and auto-related segment, which fell to EGP 5.1 bn. This was offset by solid growth at the company’s NBFS unit, GB Capital, which recorded revenues of EGP 2.4 bn, up 19% y-o-y.

Helping matters: “At the start of the year, we took advantage of increased inventory levels to hedge against supply chain disturbances and we enhanced our pricing strategy. This helped mitigate the impact of import restrictions and slowdowns in opening letters of credit,” said CEO Nader Ghabbour. “We are cognizant that it will take a few quarters for the market to stabilize and for the situation to normalize. We are also closely monitoring shifting development and their effects on purchasing power and consumer demand across our lines of business.”

E-FINANCE

e-Finance’s net income jumped 79% y-o-y in 9M 2022 to EGP 682.5 mn, it said in its latest earnings release (pdf). Revenues were up 49% y-o-y to EGP 1.9 bn for the period, driven by the company’s digital operations which was the main contributor to revenue growth. In 3Q 2022, e-Finance’s net income doubled to EGP 202.8 mn, with revenues up 71% to EGP 675.8 mn.

What they said: “We have maintained the rapidity and efficiency of the group’s growth despite a challenging economic backdrop, from rising inflationary pressures, supply chain constraints, to

the devaluation of the EGP,” said Chairman Ibrahim Sarhan. An improving economy will drive growth at the company’s e-tax unit, while the continued rollout of the national health insurance scheme will be positive for its e-health division. The company is also continuing to invest in promising startups and is looking to monetize its data lake with both data analytics and artificial intelligence, Sarham said.

ORASCOM DEVELOPMENT EGYPT

Orascom Development Egypt’s (ODE) net income rose 26% y-o-y to record EGP 1.5 bn in 9M 2022, according to the company’s latest earnings release (pdf). Revenues increased by 36% y-o-y to EGP 6.7 bn in the first nine months of the year. ODE attributed the strong revenue growth to a ramp-up of construction, with real estate revenues rising 26% y-o-y to EGP 4.7 bn. It also pointed to “enhanced business performance” in its hotel and town management segments.

ODE saw a strong 3Q: The developer’s net earnings rose 43% y-o-y to EGP 672.4 mn in 3Q 2022, on the back of a 50% y-o-y surge in revenues to EGP 2.9 bn. The growth was again driven by real estate and improved hospitality performance.

Net real estate sales hit an all-time record in the first nine months of the year, rising 17% to EGP 7.3 bn. In 3Q, net real estate sales rose 17% y-o-y to post EGP 2.6 bn. The company’s O West development in West Cairo was the largest contributor to new sales (48%), followed by El Gouna (44%), and Makadi Heights (8%).

REMEMBER– ODE has given SODIC the greenlight to conduct due diligence after SODIC submitted a preliminary, non-binding offer to acquire 100% of ODE subsidiary Orascom for Real Estate (ORE) — owner of the O West project.

EK HOLDING

Egypt Kuwait Holding (EKH)’s net income rose 54% y-o-y in 9M 2022 to USD 207.1 mn, the company said in its latest earnings release (pdf). Revenues rose 44% y-o-y to USD 849.0 mn, thanks to strong performances across its company’s fertilizer and petrochemicals segment and higher commodity prices. The commodities crunch was good for EKH’s 3Q, with revenues increasing by 29% to USD 273.0 mn and profits up 36% to USD 63.6 mn, underpinned by strong growth in the company’s fertilizers and petrochemicals segment.

What they said: “Over the past nine months, our portfolio of investments continued delivering commendable results despite a challenging operational environment on both the domestic and

global fronts, with hurdles that included continued global supply chain issues and rising inflation,” EKH Chairman Loay Jassim Al-Kharafi said.

MOVES

Alex Medical gets a post-acquisition board shake-up: Alexandria Medical Services has welcomed new faces to its board after shareholders in September sold more than 70% of the company to a consortium of LimeVest and Tawasol Holding, the company said in an EGX disclosure (pdf) yesterday.

Heading up the board: LimeVest Managing Partner Sharif El Akhdar (LinkedIn) will serve as non-executive chairman. Tawasol’s Anas Amin was appointed non-executive vice chairman, and Alaa Abdelmeguid Messaoud, also a representative of Tawasol, was appointed managing director.

Also on the board: Representing LimeVest on the board are Tarek Shawki (LinkedIn), Ahmed Abou-Hendia (LinkedIn), Dalia Elshal (LinkedIn), and Hesham Mekawi (LinkedIn), leaving LimeVest one spot on the board still to fill. Mohamed Abdel Mohsen is a representative for Tawasol, and Ayman Kandeel (LinkedIn) and Khaled Hegazy (LinkedIn) will act as independent board members.

The ownership breakdown: LimeVest acquired some 61% of Alex Medical in the transaction, it said (pdf) yesterday. That would hand some 9.2% to Tawasol, bringing its total holdings to 35.2% including its preexisting 26% stake.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

The nation’s talking heads mostly forgot about COP27 last night, with the bulk of airtime dedicated to discussing the launch of the government’s car import scheme for expats. Customs Authority boss El Shahat El Ghatwary was on El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 19:29) while Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi talked to cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad (watch, runtime: 26:53). Head to this morning’s news well, for more on the initiative, which Saad said would launch today.

Taming ambitions: There’s no clear outlook on how many cars could be brought in under the initiative, El Ghatrawy admitted, going back on very ambitious targets that were called unrealistic by industry players.

The scheme is also getting coverage from Masa’a DMC (watch, runtime: 31:01), Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 11:13) and others.

Just in time for the Enterprise Climate X Forum: Construction at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) has been completed, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 6:06) after President El Sisi met with officials to follow up on progress at the museum. Placing the artifacts on display at GEM would be finalized in the coming weeks, he said, adding that the museum would be inaugurated in 2023 without specifying a specific date. El Sisi’s meeting also earned a mention Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 11:43)

There was still time for a bit of COP: The official launch of the AWARE (Action for Water Adaptation and Resilience) initiative by the COP27 Presidency is getting coverage from Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 4:57). The show also covered a speech given by Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad during yesterday’s Gender Day (watch, runtime: 4:07).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Human rights still dominates the conversation on Egypt in the foreign press: The family of Alaa Abdel Fattah said they have received a “proof of life” letter from the jailed activist. Abdel Fattah wrote that he had resumed drinking water as of 12 November and is receiving medical attention in prison, his sister Sanaa Seif wrote on social media. There’s coverage everywhere this morning of the latest developments: Reuters | AFP | BBC | CBS | NYT | The Guardian | DW | Independent.

MEANWHILE- Special representative for the COP27 presidency Wael Aboulmagd has rejected claims that the government has been spying on delegates at the climate summit as “ludicrous” and said that some developing countries believe the claims to be a ploy by richer nations to distract from the substance of the climate negotiations. The German Foreign Ministry had complained after a number of attendees at the German pavilion alleged they were being monitored by unknown people, a claim that the UN said yesterday that it is investigating. (Reuters | AP | Deutsche Welle | The National)

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

London headquartered exploration and production outfit Energean is banging the drum for more EastMed gas investment: The start of drilling at Israel’s Karish gas field following an agreement over disputed maritime territory between Israel and Lebanon should pave the way for more exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, Energean CEO Mathios Rigas told the Financial Times. The region could be a “stable supplier” of gas to the EU, Rigas said. “I think there is a lot more gas to be found.”

From Energean’s mouth to God’s ears: Egypt has long been pushing for more cooperation and exploration on EastMed gas, as we look to position ourselves as a regional energy leader and the best replacement for lost Russian flows to Europe. Egypt, Israel and the EU signed a gas export agreement in June that will see Europe import Israeli natural gas via Egypt’s LNG facilities — and odds are good that flows from Karish will eventually make their way here for either domestic use or liquefaction and export.

Speaking of gas: TotalEnergies will begin drilling at the Mediterranean North Marina concession area it holds with Shell and other firms early next year, CEO Patrick Pouyanné told Oil Minister Tarek El Molla, the Oil Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

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

  • Russian state nuclear company Rosatom is reportedly set to finish manufacturing the turbines for the first reactor of the Dabaa nuclear plant in December, and will test them in early 2023. (Al Mal)
  • Delemar Aluminum launched trial operations at three new factories worth over EGP 800 mn in total in the Sixth of October City industrial zone — one for glass, one for aluminum, and one for paint. (Company statement, pdf)
  • Global packaging solutions giant Tetra Pak plans to invest EUR 2.5 mn in a joint venture with Egyptian paper board manufacturer Uniboard to recycle used drinks cartons. (Zawya)
  • Real estate developer Mountain View formed a joint venture with Saudi Arabia’s Omar Kassem Alesayi Group, focused on construction and real estate development in the KSA. (Al Mal)

PLANET FINANCE

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The Gulf IPO boom is showing no signs of slowing

The Abu Dhabi stock exchange has three more IPOs in the pipeline this year and another 11 lined up for 2023, an official said in an interview with Bloomberg. An AED 5 bn (USD 1.36 bn) pre-IPO fund launched in October has helped bolster the ADX’s listing pipeline, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development Chairman Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa told the news outlet, as Gulf exchanges continue to buck a global slowdown in fresh listings amid tighter economic conditions.

GCC listings have raised some USD 18 bn this year, nearly half the money raised in the capital markets of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to Bloomberg data. In another sign of the region’s healthy dealmaking pipeline, Goldman Sachs is expanding its headcount in the region in a bid to capitalize on the boom, according to Bloomberg.

More from the Gulf IPO rush:

#1- The Saudis want to take ADES public next year: Saudi wealth fund PIF is looking to hire advisors to help list regional oil and gas services company Ades as soon as 1H 2023, in an IPO that could value the company as high as USD 5 bn and raise more than USD 1 bn. The PIF helped take ADES private last year in a transaction that valued it at USD 516 mn. (Bloomberg)

Why should Egypt care? ADES is Egypt’s largest offshore driller and started life here in Egypt before going public in London in 2017.

#2- Americana IPO sees huge investor demand: Americana Group’s USD 1.8 bn IPO was oversubscribed within hours of opening yesterday. The MENA KFC and Pizza Hut operator is offering 2.5 bn shares (a 30% stake) at SAR 2.55-2.68 a piece in the dual Abu Dhabi and RIyadh listing, valuing the company at as much as USD 6 bn. (Bloomberg)

MEANWHILE- The crypto industry is continuing to reel from FTX’s collapse: The world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, is preparing to set up a fund to bail out businesses in the sector that are facing a liquidity crunch in the wake of FTX’s collapse last week, Reuters reports. This will be good news to the world’s largest crypto fund, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which according to Bloomberg is slipping deeper into crisis and is now trading at an “unprecedented” 42% discount to its BTC holdings. Meanwhile, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried ⁠— already facing an investigation in the Bahamas ⁠— could become the target of a criminal probe in the US, lawyers tell the Wall Street Journal.

Up EGX30 12,136 +1.3% (YTD: +1.6%)
Up USD (CBE) Buy 24.39 Sell 24.48
Up USD at CIB Buy 24.41 Sell 24.46
None Interest rates CBE 13.25% deposit 14.25% lending
Down Tadawul 11,197 -0.4% (YTD: -0.8%)
Down ADX 10,620 -0.1% (YTD: +25.1%)
Down DFM 3,394 -0.4% (YTD: +6.2%)
Down S&P 500 3,957 -0.9% (YTD: -17.0%)
Up FTSE 100 7,385 +0.9% (YTD: 0.0%)
Up Euro Stoxx 50 3,887 +0.5% (YTD: -9.6%)
Down Brent crude USD 92.53 -3.6%
Up Natural gas (Nymex) USD 6.04 +2.7%
Up Gold USD 1,774.70 +0.3%
Up BTC USD 16,413 +0.4% (YTD: -64.8%)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 1.3% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 3.05 bn (63.3% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 1.6% YTD.

In the green: Fawry (+6.6%), Eastern Company (+3.6%) and Palm Hills Development (+3.6%).

In the red: Oriental Weavers (-5.3%), CIRA (-3.4%) and GB Auto (-2.7%).

DIPLOMACY

Egypt + OPEC affirm commitment to oil and gas: The oil and gas industry needs to remain an “important and continuous” part of the global energy mix despite the rise in renewable energy, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla and OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais said during talks yesterday, the Egyptian Oil Ministry and OPEC said.

CALENDAR

NOVEMBER

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

13-22 November (Sunday-Tuesday): Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF).

15-16 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): G20 summit, Bali, Indonesia.

20 November (Sunday): House of Representatives is back in session.

21 November-18 December (Monday-Sunday): 2022 Fifa World Cup, Qatar.

22 November- 23 November (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Fingerprint Summit will be held at the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel.

27 November (Sunday): Senate in session.

27-28 November (Sunday-Monday): The first edition of the Egypt Media Forum.

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

Late November or early December: US and Russia to hold talks on resuming mutual nuclear inspections in Cairo.

DECEMBER

1 December (Thursday): Sphinx International Airport will begin operating international flights.

1 December (Thursday): Contractors to break ground on Egypt-Saudi interconnection project.

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

5-8 December (Monday-Thursday): QS Reimagine Education Awards and Conference, multiple locations.

10 December (Saturday): The TriFactory’s Pyramids Half Marathon.

10-12 December (Saturday-Monday): The 2nd edition of the Nebu Expo for Gold and Jewelry kicks off.

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.

December: Chinese President Xi Jinping visit to Saudi Arabia

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): 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

1 April (Saturday): Deadline for banks to establish sustainability unit.

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.

End of November: SFE’s pre-IPO fund to kick off roadshow.

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 Arabia’s 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.

1Q2023: Internal trade database to launch.

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