Thursday, 17 November 2022

AM — Two days left of COP27 and a climate agreement remains elusive

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, friends. You may now rejoice: It is not just the last workday of the week, it is the final workday of COP27. We hope you’re looking forward as much as we are to some downtime this weekend.

PSA- Your weekend weather forecast is excellent if you’re reading us in the capital city. Expect a mix of sun and clouds with a daytime high of 25°C tomorrow and Saturday and an overnight low of 12°C.

HAPPENING TODAY-

There are just two days left of COP27 and climate negotiators appear no closer to an agreement: “I think we have a larger than normal number of lingering issues,” the special representative of the COP27 Presidency, Wael Aboulmagd, said yesterday. “We would have hoped under the current circumstances to see more willingness to cooperate and accommodate than we are seeing.” The EU’s climate chief, Frans Timmermans, was similarly cautious. “I think we still have a long way to go. But I remain hopeful that we can come to good conclusions,” he told the Associated Press.

Egypt has been trying to push countries to compromise on several contentious issues, foremost among which is the question of “loss and damage” (i.e. who will pay to decarbonize developing countries and help them mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change). But divides between the global north and south on the path forward for climate financing remain stark, and participants in the talks have voiced frustration over the lack of progress.

Remember: The slow pace of progress means that delegates could remain in Sharm El Sheikh past Friday in order to reach an agreement.

Some good news: G20 countries have restated their commitment to keeping global warming within 1.5°C and called for a “phasedown” of coal, a move that was welcomed by the COP27 Presidency. We have the full story in this morning’s EnterpriseClimate.

It’s Solutions day in Sharm, with sessions focusing on accelerating climate change adaptation through innovation, green bonds and carbon markets, resilient health systems, lots of loss and damage, and entrepreneurship.

Today will also see the launch of Egypt’s sustainable cities initiative by officials from the World Bank, bilateral development partners, international financing institutions and several experts with expertise in cities sustainability and resilience, the Local Development Ministry said yesterday.

ALSO- The resident 15-year-old makes her stage debut today as Juror Number Six in a production of 12 Angry Jurors. Thoughts, prayers and good wishes gratefully accepted. Break a leg, kiddo.

NEXT WEEK-

The 2022 World Cup starts next week: Qatar and Ecuador will get the 2022 World Cup underway on Sunday. The two teams will kick off at the 60k-capacity Al Bayt Stadium at 18:00 CLT after the opening ceremony (17:00 CLT), kicking off the tournament that will clog all of our sports feeds (and the EnterprisePM sports section) for the next four weeks.

** Keep your eyes on your inboxes on Friday: We’ll be out with our guide to the tournament when we publish this month’s Your Wealth at the appointed hour on Friday morning.

JOIN US FOR OUR ENTERPRISE FANTASY WORLD CUP LEAGUE. Sign up with the code SZJ507VP to compete against other members of the Enterprise community. The top finisher will take home something special from us.

MPs return from their two-week break on Sunday. On the agenda for next week are discussions on amendments to the Telecommunication Regulation Law and a law restructuring Al Azhar.

WATCH THIS SPACE- A new strategy for foreign investment: The Senate is drafting a new strategy for foreign investment in a bid to boost the inflow of hard currency into the country, Speaker Abdel Wahab Abdel Razek said this week.

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** TAP HERE OR CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE to learn more about the Enterprise Climate X Forum, our 6 December event at the Grand Egyptian Museum. Interested in attending? Drop us an email at climatexrsvp@enterprisemea.com.

THE BIG STORIES ABROAD-

The US has returned to divided government after the Republicans finally sealed a majority in the House more than a week after the midterm elections. The GOP yesterday won the all-important 218th seat to gain control of the lower house, splitting control of the legislature with the Democrats which last week retained the Senate. The story is dominating the headlines in the US where journalists are asking what this means for Biden’s legislative agenda for the remainder of his presidential term. (Associated Press | Reuters | New York Times | Washington Post | Wall Street Journal)

Nato dials back Russia tensions following Poland missile strike: Poland and Nato have said that a missile strike that killed two people in a Polish village on Tuesday was likely a stray fired by the Ukrainian military. “There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to suggest that it was an intentional attack on Poland,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said, in comments backed by Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected the claims, saying he is “certain” it was fired by Russian forces. (AP | Bloomberg | Reuters | WSJ)

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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.

ENERGY

A lot of renewables = a lot of investment to drum up

Initial agreements for green hydrogen and wind power projects worth up to USD 119 bn have been signed during COP27, according to figures published in a cabinet statement yesterday. The 28 GW worth of wind power Egypt has lined up will cost some USD 34 bn to put in place, while the nine green hydrogen and ammonia facilities for which we’ve signed framework agreements will cost up to USD 85 bn combined, the statement read.

Who is paying for what? All of the projects are in the early stages of development, so there is no breakdown on how they will be financed yet — and still no public handicapping of which are most likely to attract finance. You can expect most of them to be looking for a mix of funding from development finance institutions (DFIs), multilaterals, banks, and public funds. The climate finance roadmap laid out during COP27 through its Nexus for Water, Food, and Energy (NWFE) program and the Sharm El Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing will be guides to how policymakers look at the funding question.

There’s also the issue of whether Europe might provide producer subsidies to Egypt for green energy (ammonia and hydrogen in particular) destined for export to the European Union, a question we raised with OCI and Fertiglobe CEO Ahmed El Hoshy in an interview that ran this morning in Enterprise Climate.

DFIs are already stepping up to the plate: Development finance institutions including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have already signaled their interest in the newly announced projects, while the US, Germany and other European countries have pledged to provide more than USD 550 mn to support Egypt’s clean energy transition under NWFE, which the Egyptian government launched in July to channel finance into green projects. Agreements signed last week are expected to unlock USD 15 bn from private investors and DFIs to help Egypt decarbonize its power infrastructure, and strengthen its food and water security.

What’s a few GW and bn between friends? In a sign of how quickly this is all coming together for policymakers and business alike, we think the 28 GW figure for wind power should be 29.5 GW — our tracker includes the 1.5 GW offshore farm that GE and EGAS said they will work on together in the Gulf of Suez. On the total investment cost front, the Madbouly government said on Tuesday that the nine green H2 and ammonia plants would need as much as USD 83 bn in investment, not the USD 85 bn they noted yesterday

REFRESHER- Egypt has signed framework agreements for nine green hydrogen and ammonia facilities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which would collectively produce up to 4.6 mn tons of green ammonia and 2.7 mn tons of hydrogen a year when fully operational. We have also lined up 28 GW of wind projects in the past week, equivalent to nearly half of the country’s total installed power generation capacity — plus another 1.5 GW wind farm that the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), General Electric and subsea robotics firm Seasplit Technologies are currently studying.

These 13 renewables projects could save us nearly 100 mn tons of CO2 a year, the statement said. The wind projects — two of which are set to be among the largest in the world — will save around 65 mn tons of CO2 a year, while the green hydrogen facilities will generate 24 GW of power and save some 39 mn tons annually.

What’s next: The government will be working diligently “over the coming period” on signing final contracts for these projects and beginning to execute them, the statement said.

CREATING OUR BIGGEST H2 EXPORT MARKET-

The EU has signed an MoU with Egypt to establish a “strategic partnership” on renewable hydrogen to help support Egypt’s clean energy transition. The agreement will serve as a “framework to support long-term conditions for the development of a renewable hydrogen industry and trade across the EU and Egypt, including infrastructure and financing.” The partnership will help the EU reach its goal of securing a supply of 20 mn tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030, as the EU looks to import “renewable hydrogen and its derivatives” from Egypt. In exchange, Egypt will get help facilitating investment in renewables and accelerating its decarbonization progress, according to the document.

The two sides are setting up an EU-Egypt Hydrogen Coordination Group and will organize a business forum to allow representatives from industry, regulators, financial institutions and experts to lead implementation.

AND EGYPT GETS EU BACKING FOR NWFE PROGRAM

A joint letter of intent was signed between Egypt and the EU for up to EUR 35 mn for energy projects under its Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) program, according to a separate statement from Egypt’s International Cooperation Ministry. The funds will be directed to the European Reconstruction and Development Bank (EBRD) to bolster investments in renewable energy and support the transition towards green economy and low-carbon development.

OTHER CLIMATE NEWS-

EBRD + Elsewedy team up on technical training: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has signed an MoU with Elsewedy Technical Academy to provide technical training at Elsewedy’s new school in the Suez Canal Economic Zone in Ain Sokhna, for workers in green hydrogen, as well as logistics, tourism, and iron and steel sectors. (Statement)

Amreeka is giving us USD 4 mn for climate-focused research: The additional finance comes under the US-Egypt Science and Technology Joint Fund, which aims to foster collaboration between American and Egyptian scientists “to conduct high-impact scientific research and train the next generation of Egyptian scientists and young entrepreneurs in health, agriculture, energy, and water.” (US Embassy statement)

INVESTMENT WATCH

Infinity, Hassan Allam Utilities, Masdar ink 2 GW green hydrogen agreement + EBRD invests more in Infinity

Our friends at Infinity and Hassan Allam Utilities alongside UAE clean-energy giant Masdar have inked a framework agreement for a 2 GW green hydrogen plant they will build in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

The SCZone plant will be operational by 2026, they said in a statement (pdf).

The investment case: “Egypt enjoys abundant solar and wind resources that can allow for the generation of renewable power at a highly competitive cost, a key enabler for green hydrogen production and is located within proximity to markets where demand for green hydrogen is expected to grow the most, providing a robust opportunity for export,” the three said in a statement.

Who’s on the other side of the agreement? State institutions including the SCZone, the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt.

BACKGROUND- The three inked memoranda of understanding back in April for a 4-GW program that includes the plant in the SCZone as well as a second 2-GW facility on the Mediterranean. They’re looking to produce 480k tons of green hydrogen per year by 2030 with an electrolyzer capacity of 4 GW, which would give them the capacity to produce as much as 2.3 mn tons a year of green ammonia for export as well as to supply green hydrogen to Egyptian buyers.

Hassan Allam, Infinity and Masdar are making massive plays on green energy in Egypt: The green hydrogen news comes just days after the three announced a 10 GW wind project in Egypt, which would, when built, be one of the largest wind farms in the world. The three could sign agreements on the wind farm as soon as the end of this year.

The big play: Africa could capture as much as 10% of the global green hydrogen market, helping to create as many as 3.7 mn jobs and adding as much as USD 120 bn to the continent’s GDP, according to a report issued jointly by Masdar at COP27 last week.

SPEAKING OF INFINITY…

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is increasing its stake in Egypt’s renewable energy provider Infinity through a USD 41.5 mn investment, the bank said in a statement yesterday. The EBRD did not disclose the size of its stake in Infinity following the investment. The bank had previously become a shareholder after investing USD 60 mn in the company in 2020. An Infinity spokesperson declined to comment on the transaction when we reached out yesterday.

Where will the funding go? The funding will go towards Infinity’s expansion plans in Egypt and other countries, as well as potential acquisitions, the statement said. An undisclosed portion of the proceeds will be used to fund Infinity’s acquisition of African renewables player Lekela Power.

The EBRD has been investing heavily in Egypt’s renewables sector as of late: The news comes days after the lender committed USD 1.3 bn including “USD 1 bn of private renewable finance, USD 300 mn in sovereign finance and grants of USD 3 mn from its shareholder special fund,” to help Egypt decarbonize its power infrastructure and install new renewable energy capacity. The lender is heading up the energy pillar in Egypt’s newly-launched Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE).

STARTUP WATCH

Modus Capital could invest in Egyptian AI, blockchain startups with new USD 75 mn fund

Modus’ new fund eyes African tech startups — including here: MENA-focused venture capital firm Modus Capital has launched a fresh USD 75 mn fund, dubbed Modus Africa, that will target early-stage African startups, it said (pdf) on Tuesday. The fund will invest in companies that use AI and blockchain technology and is expected to reach first close in 1Q 2023.

It’s looking at Egypt: Modus is in talks with a number of local companies, Modus Africa General Partner Andre Ayotte told Enterprise. The firm isn’t sharing the names of the companies at this stage, he said, but added that it is looking at “startups across all sectors.” The proviso: They need to be using AI and blockchain technologies.

Ticket size and other particulars: The fund is looking to write cheques to some 45 or so companies in the “seed plus” stage, with ticket sizes in the USD 350k to USD 1.2 mn range — and up to USD 2 mn for follow-on investments, Ayotte told us.

About Modus: Modus has established branches in Cairo, Abu Dhabi, and most recently Riyadh, and is supported by backers including Mubadala's Hub71 and USAID. It participated in Egypt-based blockchain email service provider Pravica’s USD 500k pre-seed funding round back in 2020.

INFRASTRUCTURE

East Port Said port is getting even bigger thanks to Sky Investments + Reliance Logistics

A consortium of our friends at Sky Investments alongside Reliance Logistics will establish a USD 65 mn multi-purpose terminal at East Port Said port under a contract signed with the Suez Canal Economic Zone yesterday. The companies will be responsible for the “design, construction, management, operation and maintenance” of the terminal, which will feature a 900-meter container berth, the SCZone said in a statement. The terminal is part of a USD 719 mn package of projects approved by the zone in September.

This is the second terminal the SCZone has signed for this week: Maersk’s Suez Canal Container Terminal signed an agreement with the SCZone on Tuesday for a USD 500 mn expansion project that will increase the port’s capacity by 40%.

That’s not all: The SCZone yesterday signed another contract to develop an industrial zone at the port with local player Roots Commodities, it said in a separate statement. The signing of the contract comes more than a year after a consortium comprising Emirati firm Rosa Grains and Roots submitted a bid to establish a logistics hub that includes a EGP 2.2 bn bulk grain terminal. The first phase of the project is estimated at USD 200 mn with a focus on manufacturing grains and cereal.

2X GREEN AGREEMENTS-

The SCZone signed yesterday two MoUs to recycle factory waste and issue carbon certificates:

  • One with e-waste management startup E-Tadweer to manage and recycle solid waste and e-waste safely
  • One with newly-established Libra Carbon to issue carbon certificates to companies embarking on emission-reduction projects.

Reminder: The EGX will soon launch Africa’s first voluntary carbon market, allowing companies from Egypt and across the continent which reduce their emissions to sell carbon credits. Libra Carbon is providing the carbon offsets to the market.

IPO WATCH

FRA approves BdC IPO deadline extension

Banque du Caire pushes IPO deadline to March 2023: The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has allowed Banque du Caire (BdC) to postpone the deadline for finishing procedures to IPO on the EGX to 31 March 2023, it said in a statement, (pdf) yesterday. The state-owned bank delayed its long-awaited IPO again in July on the back of the market turmoil caused by tightening financial conditions and the war in Ukraine.

EARNINGS WATCH

EFG Hermes + Juhayna release 3Q / 9M 2022 numbers

EFG Hermes’ net income before tax and minority interest surged 70% y-o-y to EGP 650 mn in 3Q 2022 as operating revenues nearly doubled to EGP 2.3 bn during the quarter, boosted by the consolidation of revenues at its recently acquired aiBank and growth across all of its verticals, the company said in its earnings release (pdf). Net profit after tax and minority interest slid 5% on higher taxes and minority interest, largely on the consolidation of aiBank, it said.

REMEMBER- Our friends at EFG Hermes acquired a stake in aiBank last year when acquired 51% of its shares in a transaction that also saw the Sovereign Fund of Egypt invest. EFG Hermes and the SFE have pulled aiBank, formerly owned by the National Investment Bank, out of the red: It has now reported positive earnings for three consecutive quarters. The bank’s net income rose 6% to EGP 113 mn in 3Q 2022.

EFG Hermes’ investment bank operations produced another strong performance across the board, with the company’s investment banking, brokerage, private equity, asset management, and holding and treasury activities segments all posting y-o-y revenue growth on higher fees and strong GCC business.

Group CEO Karim Awad sounded an optimistic note heading into the final weeks 2022, saying in a statement that EFG Hermes is “perfectly positioned to end the year on an excellent note” at aiBank, its NBFI platform and at the investment bank.

JUHAYNA PROFITS DIP IN 3Q-

Dairyfoods giant Juhayna’s net income eased 11% y-o-y to EGP 155 mn in 3Q 2022 on the back of a surge in inflation, global supply chain disruptions and the devaluation of the EGP, according to its earnings release (pdf). The company’s top line rose 23% from a year earlier to EGP 3 bn, driven by a surge in revenues from its concentrates segment and a 34% increase in dairy revenues.

What they said: “It has been a challenging nine months, as we have been facing many

challenges on global and local fronts… Locally, we have been experiencing double-digit inflation and a 24% decline in the value of the EGP in 9M 2022, relative to the USD,” Juhanya’s CEO Niels Thomsen said. “Despite this, we have succeeded to extensively grow our core segments, gain market share, and gradually pass on price increases of over 20% during 9M22,” Thomsen added.

JUFO has finished paying out its record EGP 329 mn dividend, with Thomsen noting that doing so underscores both the business’ ability to generate cash and management’s confidence in the future of the company.

CLIMATE CEO POLL

Karim Moussa, head of PE and asset management + co-CEO of EFG Hermes Investment Bank

Enterprise Climate CEO Poll – Karim Moussa: Our Enterprise Climate CEO Poll interviews with top C-suite execs and business leaders about key issues being raised at COP27, including climate finance, regulation, and the green economy.

This morning we’re talking to EFG Hermes’ Karim Moussa: Moussa wears many hats at EFG Hermes: He’s the co-CEO of its investment bank. He heads up its private equity and asset management operations. And he’s in charge of the firm’s energy platform, Vortex Energy, which since 2014 has been investing in renewable energy projects across Europe, managing EUR 1.6 bn worth of assets along the way. We spoke about how the global energy crisis is impacting Vortex, what needs to happen to support the development of the region’s renewable energy sector, and why a focus on mega-projects might not be the best strategy.

ENTERPRISE: How is the European energy crisis affecting Vortex Energy’s targets and your investment and divestment cycle?

KARIM MOUSSA: It sounds quite adverse to say, but the European energy crisis is substantially benefiting us as renewable energy producers. We've always been advocates for renewable energy, not only for global climate reasons, but also because they are the cheapest source of energy, from a levelized cost of energy perspective, which is a very important metric in the industry.

With the energy crisis, everyone realized that it is the most affordable source of energy and that it is required, both economically and politically, and it allows you to end your reliance on Russian gas. As a result, any producer with a tangible pipeline coming to market is currently in a very good position, as electricity prices have increased by 3x or so in the last year. But the sun and the wind are the same whether Russia is at war or not. So our input cost remained constant, but our output price increased significantly. Renewable energy producers have the highest profit margins in the current environment.

We're now entering into private PPAs with blue-chip corporate energy consumers, not just to get better prices, but also to ensure supply security. Some of these large corporations are unsure what the situation will be at the end of this winter or whether they will have power next winter. So it's not just that they want a cheaper energy source. Securing a 10-year PPA with a solar developer at a fixed price and fixed quantity is strategic for them. In a nutshell it's a great environment to be in if you are a producer of renewable energy in Europe today.

E: Have your short and long-term targets changed in light of the energy crisis?

KM: The crisis may calm down politically, but its aftermath will probably stay for another one to two years. Prices for electricity are expected to remain high for at least the next 12 to 24 months. After that, things will gradually return to normal. However, the need for electrification will continue to drive demand for green energy and electricity, whether it's EVs on the road or households going electric on heating and other matters.

E: With a growing focus on renewables in the MENA region, what do developers need to do to maximize ROI for investors?

KM: The issue that we see in the region is that the era of feed-in tariffs is ending. There will be no more feed-in tariffs and no more subsidies. Even in Europe, when we began investing in 2014, there were subsidies because the costs of solar and wind were significantly higher than they are now. The cost of solar went down by 90% over the last 10 years and the cost of wind went down by 85% of production in the same time frame. So we're in a new era now.

Pushing more renewables into the system here in the Middle East is a natural thing that needs to happen. The problem is that most projects have been completed via auctions rather than feed-in tariffs. The big utilities in the region and around the world were the main suppliers and bidders on these assets and you haven't seen many private equity financial investors like us come into the market because the agreed-upon returns for the prices and auctions were very low. They were more acceptable for a strategic utility with a long-term goal and the ability to stay for decades than for a private equity player who needs to generate returns for investors in the next 5-10 years.

As a result, few financial investors and private equity funds entered the system, and the risk-return profile was lacking in comparison to other markets in the United States or Europe, among other things. This must change in the future in order to attract more private capital, specifically financial investors, into the space.

E: What kind of incentives would green investors like to see?

KM: I believe that a typical development framework is for developers to go out and acquire land, develop projects, obtain permissions, conduct environmental studies, and obtain all of the other types of permissions required for grid interconnection. Then there's a grid-based wheeling system, as well as a private and open market. Every country has a different regulatory framework, but some push harder to liberalize the electricity market by allowing private developers to come in and supply customers with a wheeling system and an open market.

The issue in some countries is that electricity prices remain subsidized. Investors would also begin to seek higher returns, similar to how we operate in Spain or Europe. We have offtake agreements with AAA-rated corporations for 10-15 years.

If I sell electricity to one of these corporates with a good credit rating, there is a private, corporate PPA that is negotiated between an electricity producer and an electricity buyer. We use the grid and pay fees to the government.

Demand for general electricity and economic growth must be coordinated with increased renewable energy production. Because if the economy's growth and industrial and household demand are not in sync, why would I produce electricity if no one wants it?

We need fewer large-scale initiatives and more small-scale initiatives. As a result, funding can come from a variety of sources. These strategic, large-scale projects are not accessible to financial investors. Smaller projects are easier to fund and more accessible to the private sector.

E: Green hydrogen is gaining traction and we regularly see global players signing agreements and MoUs to build new plants. What is required to make these agreements a reality, and what incentives or instruments can countries in the region provide to translate these agreements into action?

KM: Definitely. Any funding solution would help. That’s number one. And number two, it is much easier to build a hundred megawatt wind farm than a 20 gigawatt wind farm, and it’s much easier to fund, execute and get off the ground.

We have these mega electrolyzers, but why don't we just start with something smaller, something that is feasible? We don’t have case studies out there of green hydrogen or green ammonia yet. So let's do one project that works in parallel with the big ones. My recommendation would be to focus on tangible, smaller projects that are easier to get off the ground. They would also find it easier to attract private capital. Yes, the mega projects have much more impact on the economy and on employment, but they're also very hard to execute.

E: Can Vortex Energy see any investment opportunities in the main region right now?

KM: Soon. With the deregulation and opening up of the system that has occurred, we believe the market will soon liberalize and be open to private equity players. So yes. Soon. It wasn't there for us in recent years, but it’s going in the right direction. As long as the demand and supply equation still holds and the economic environment is favorable.

Vortex is a gateway for investors. We're the fund manager, so we reflect the sentiment of the investors, which is a sentiment for private FDI. If that’s not there in certain countries, we will not have the backing. I'm not going to force my investors to invest in a private project that will tie them up for at least 5-10 years.

So you need to have the parameters that I've mentioned. The market needs to be liberal. The supply demand equation needs to make sense. And also there needs to be executable projects for tickets of our size to come to as opposed to mega projects. So everything needs to play together. Some of the African countries are making efforts to attract a lot of capital into their markets for renewables.

E: How do you approach “responsible investing” at EFG Hermes? How do you integrate a climate strategy into your investment / asset management / PE process?

KM: ESG is now being implemented across the group as well as at the holding level, and on all our verticals, whether it's healthcare, renewables or education. Strategically, this is what we’ve focused on over the past seven years, all these three verticals are ESG verticals. So we only do ESG at EFG Hermes. We only do education. We only do healthcare and renewable energy. We don't invest outside these three areas in private equity.

Our asset management platform has a very rigid ESG process and system in place, whether it's selecting or portfolio management investing, and we report this to our investors. So on the public markets we are quite ESG-compliant and also on the private equity, whether it’s the sectors that we focus on, but also within these sectors we implement ESG systems.

E: What outcomes or initiatives that would directly impact EFG’s investment strategies in the MENA region would you hope to see come out of COP27?

KM: I encourage working on more tangible, feasible, and executable projects immediately, not just gigawatts of extensive talks and net zero actions. We need fewer big headline announcements and more achievable projects that we can start working on tomorrow.

MOVES

Mohamed Naguib (LinkedIn) succeeds the late Raouf Ghabbour as the non-executive chairman of GB Auto, the company said in an EGX disclosure (pdf) yesterday. Ghabbour, a leading figure in the business community, passed away last week aged 69 after a long battle with cancer. Naguib has served on the boards of a number of banks and corporations — including Incolease, GB Auto and Banque Misr — in Egypt throughout his nearly 40 years of experience in banking, leasing and credit. He was recently appointed to advise new central bank governor Hassan Abdalla.

KUDOS

GAFI picks up a UNCTAD award for Minya sugar project + US Chamber of Commerce and AmCham support the Global Methane Pledge

GAFI gets props from the UN for Minya sugar reclamation project: The General Authority for Freezones and Investment (GAFI) was awarded an investment promotion award from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for facilitating the Canal Sugar Company’s West Minya project, according to a UNCTAD statement. The award was handed to GAFI “for excellence in promoting sustainable investment in agriculture, contributing to food security and development.”

The US Chamber of Commerce and AmCham Egypt announced their support for the Global Methane Pledge which was launched at last year’s COP26 summit. The organizations will work with their members and other stakeholders to help realize the pledge, which aims to to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30% of 2020 levels by the end of the decade. Egypt signed on to the pledge in June.

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LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

It was almost a COP-less night on the airwaves last night if you can believe it: The nation’s talking heads turned their focus to domestic issues, including the new app to help expats apply to the car import scheme and the government labeling rice as a strategic commodity to crack down on rice hoarding.

Rice is now a strategic commodity: Rice producers, distributors and sellers who withhold rice will now be at risk of jail terms and hefty fines after ministers yesterday decided to designate it a “strategic commodity” for at least three months. In a statement following its weekly meeting, the cabinet said that people found guilty of hoarding rice could face at least a year in jail and fines of up to EGP 2 mn. In an interview on Ala Mas’ouleety, cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad said that the penalties have been introduced to deter traders who try to exploit the opportunity to hoard rice amid a global shortage of commodities (watch, runtime: 4:26).

But not everyone is happy with the decision: In a conversation with Yahduth Fi Masr’s Sherif Amer, the head of the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ rice division, Ragab Shehata, said that the government should have consulted with industry players before taking the decision. Shehata said the problem lies more with producers than traders. “The target was 1.5 mn tonnes of [supplied] rice to the Supply Ministry, but what was actually supplied was approximately 250k tonnes,” he said (watch, runtime: 6:15). Masaa DMC also covered the story (watch, runtime: 17:00).

The expat car import scheme continued to get attention last night in the wake of the Tuesday launch of the mobile app (App Store | Google Play). Yahduth Fi Masr’s Sherif Amer didn’t give the app a good review after taking it for a test drive, telling viewers that it wouldn’t let him lodge an import request for a vehicle in Saudi Arabia (watch, runtime: 2:25). Saad reiterated the T&Cs on Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 4:30) while Masaa DMC covered the app launch (watch, runtime: 3:23).

Green hydrogen got a bit of attention: The MoU signed between Egypt and EU yesterday to set up a strategic partnership on green hydrogen (more on this in this morning’s news well, above). Electricity Ministry spokesperson Ayman Hamza was on Al Hayah Al Youm to discuss the agreement (watch, runtime: 8:32). It was also getting coverage from Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 2:54)

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

Climate change and environmental issues in Egypt is the sole focus of the foreign press this morning, making this the first day since the COP27 summit began 12 days ago that human rights is absent from the international conversation. The BBC looks at allegations of toxic wastewater being dumped in the Red Sea, the Guardian examines how Cairo and Dubai tackle air pollution, and CNBC says activists are upset that US PR Hill + Knowlton is the comms lead for COP27 comms lead, citing its work for big oil firms. “Profoundly disturbing” that a PR firm worked for big oil? Yeah. Sure.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Egypt’s state grains buyer yesterday bought 300k tons of Russian wheat direct from suppliers, traders told Reuters. GASC last week ordered 280k tons of Russian wheat after it canceled a tender earlier this month due to high prices.

Another tragic road accident: Fourteen people died when a minibus collided with a pick up truck in El Wadi El Gedid Governorate, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

PLANET FINANCE

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FTX collapse carnage continues: Crypto lender Genesis and the bn’aire Winklevoss’ Gemini Trading have both halted withdrawals, BlockFi will file for bankruptcy in the coming days, and Singapore’s state investor Temasek has written off its entire USD 275 mn investment in FTX. In addition to multiple regulatory probes, FTX’s ex-bn’aire founder Sam Bankman-Fried is facing legal action from investors. As are FTX’s celebrity promoters, NFL quarterback Tom Brady and tennis player Naomi Osaka. Probably the best inside look at what was going on inside FTX in the days before its collapse is provided to us by Reuters, which has interviewed company executives and pored over dozens of documents.

This is still the biggest story in the global financial press (and we expect it’ll continue to be over the coming days): Financial Times | Bloomberg | WSJ | Washington Post | CNBC.

Anghami is the latest tech startup to announce mass layoffs amid a slowdown in the sector: The Nasdaq-listed, Abu Dhabi-based music streaming platform has laid off 22% of staff and slashed cloud computing costs in a bid to achieve profitability, it said in its earnings release yesterday. “Given the impact of challenging macroeconomic conditions, we had to take some cost disciplinary measures to improve our bottom-line performance," CEO and co-founder Eddy Maroun said.

A secondary share sale could value Elon Musk’s SpaceX at USD 150 bn: The spacecraft and satellite communications giant is mulling a sale offering that could value the company as much as USD 150 bn — a 20% increase on its most recent valuation, Reuters reports, citing sources close to the matter. The sale would help employees and other shareholders cashout, the sources said — contradicting earlier news that SpaceX was mulling a sale of fresh shares to raise as much as USD 1 bn.

MORE FROM THE SHTF DIGEST-

  • Inflation in the UK isn’t letting up: Soaring energy and grocery bills pushed UK inflation to a 41-year high of 11.1% in October. (ONS)
  • ECB sees some dark clouds gathering for eurozone banks: The European Central Bank (ECB) is warning of increased risks to financial stability amid an impending recession, rising inflation, surging financing costs, and relatively low liquidity. (ECB)
  • Russia’s in recession: Russia’s economy shrunk by 4% y-o-y in 3Q, the second consecutive quarter of contraction, as Western sanctions bite. (Financial Times)

Up

EGX30

12,341

+1.7% (YTD: +3.3%)

Up

USD (CBE)

Buy 24.44

Sell 24.53

Up

USD at CIB

Buy 24.46

Sell 24.51

None

Interest rates CBE

13.25% deposit

14.25% lending

Up

Tadawul

11,151

+0.5% (YTD: -1.2%)

Down

ADX

10,458

-0.4% (YTD: +23.5%)

Down

DFM

3,344

-0.9% (YTD: +4.6%)

Down

S&P 500

3,959

-0.8% (YTD: -16.9%)

Down

FTSE 100

7,351.2

-0.3% (YTD: -0.5%)

Down

Euro Stoxx 50

3,882.8

-0.8% (YTD: -9.7%)

Down

Brent crude

USD 92.62

-1.3%

Up

Natural gas (Nymex)

USD 6.22

+3.1%

Up

Gold

USD 1,777.70

+0.1%

Down

BTC

USD 16,538

-2.0% (YTD: -64.1%)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 rose 1.7% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 2.1 bn (45.5% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 3.3% YTD.

In the green: Fawry (+7.8%), Rameda Pharma (+6.3%) and Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (+6.2%).

In the red: Egypt Kuwait Holding-USD (-2.6%) and Cleopatra Hospitals Group (-1.7%).

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.

6 December (Tuesday): Enterprise Climate X Forum, Grand Egyptian Museum.

7 December (Wednesday): Euromoney Egypt 2022 conference

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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