Tuesday, 22 November 2022

AM — The state’s massive desalination program gets started + investment banking drama

TL;DR

WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY

Good morning, wonderful people, and happy hump day. COP is now in our rearview, and our reward is a massive bolus of business news, only some of which is linked to climate.

Still need some climate news? Head over to Enterprise Climate, which this morning has a look at the next steps for the Madbouly government’s massive hydrogen program as well as the prospects (or lack thereof) for a green World Cup.

The Madbouly government is cautiously observing markets ahead of a decision on the privatization program: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and key ministers along with leaders of Egypt’s sovereign wealth fund met yesterday to discuss the state privatization program, according to a cabinet statement yesterday following a meeting between. Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad emphasized the ministers were closely monitoring economic and market conditions globally and locally.

REFRESHER– The government is looking at how and when to reboot its privatization program with recent listing changes and a new pre-IPO fund set up by the Sovereign Fund of Egypt in September. The fund will offer stakes in state-owned companies to strategic investors and sovereign funds ahead of listing them on the bourse.

Banque du Caire doesn’t appear to be in a rush to restart its plans, last week gaining approval from the FRA to push the deadline for finishing IPO procedures to the end of 1Q 2023.

Conditions in the Egyptian financial markets have improved in recent weeks with the return of foreign investors following the central bank’s decision to float the currency and the announcement of a staff-level agreement with the IMF for a new loan program at the end of last month. The benchmark EGX30 index has gained almost 18% since the end of October, putting it up 4.2% year-to-date. This is a stark reversal of fortunes from just four months ago when shares had fallen to their lowest level since November 2016.

GO DEEPER- EFG Hermes investment banking boss Mostafa Gad thinks there are two(ish) ways for the state to kickstart the IPO program by taking a page from the playbook that the UAE has very successfully used to build one of the hottest IPO markets in the world right now.


Nafeza rollout to air freight pushed “until economic conditions stabilize”: The rollout of the Advance Customs Information (ACI) customs system to air freight has been pushed for a second time to give importers, customs brokers, shipping agents and overseas companies more time to get used to the system amid volatility in the global economy, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. Use of the ACI for air freight was due to become compulsory on 1 January, having already been pushed back from an original October start date. The ministry will now extend the trial period until local and global conditions are stable, the ministry said.

ALSO- One of the world’s oldest still-used Jewish cemeteries reopened in Cairo on Sunday after three years of restoration work supported by our friends at the US embassy. The Bassatine cemetery was restored with funding from the State Department, and US Charge d’affaires David Rubinstein was on hand for the event. There’s plenty more detail in this statement from the folks at the embassy. More of this, please.

HAPPENING TODAY-

It’s day 3 of the World Cup: Teams in groups C and D play their first games of the tournament today, with two of the favorites in action (all times CLT):

  • Argentina v Saudi Arabia (12pm)
  • Denmark v Tunisia (3pm)
  • Mexico v Poland (6pm)
  • France v Australia (9pm)

The tournament came to life yesterday after a tedious opener on Sunday, with a flurry of goals ⁠— and plenty of controversies ⁠— as teams in groups A and B played their opening games. Iran’s 6-2 thrashing by England made the day’s headlines (as much for the number of goals as for the political undercurrents), while a closely fought game between Wales and the US ended 1-1. Senegal and the Netherlands closed out Group A in a game that saw the “Iron Tulip’s” Dutchmen grab two late goals against the west African side that struggled without their injured talisman, Sadio Mane.

After only four games played, there are already plenty of talking points, many of them not football-related:

  • Armbanned: Fifa’s decision to ban team captains wearing the OneLove anti-discrimination armbands is not being received warmly by European teams. Amid a wave of Western criticism of the tournament’s hosts, football’s governing body moved to prevent political messaging from making it onto the pitch, threatening to book players who wore the rainbow armband. (ESPN)
  • To sing or not to sing: Much is being made in the media by the decision by the Iranian players not to sing the national anthem, which is being interpreted as a show of support for anti-government protests. (BBC)
  • Fifa’s concussion rules are in the spotlight after Iranian goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand was allowed to continue playing despite suffering a head injury. Clearly unable to continue, the 30-year-old was eventually stretchered off the field. (The Athletic)
  • VAR: Where a football game is played, there will be complaints about VAR. Ecuador’s disallowed goal against Qatar and a couple of odd penalty decisions in yesterday’s England-Iran game stirred controversy.

AND- Egypt may not be in Qatar, but our balls are: A chunk of the official match balls being kicked around in Qatar are proudly made at home by Forward Egypt, according to a statement by the cabinet.

MEANWHILE-

In the House today: Tourism Minister Ahmed Eissa will answer questions from MPs on the ministry’s tourism promotion program and its plans to restore antiquities.

The two-day Fingerprint Summit starts today at the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel. Speakers include Finance Minister Mohamed Maait and Planning Minister Hala El Said.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD-

The crypto world is continuing to reel from the demise of FTX:

  • Shares in Coinbase are tanking: Coinbase saw its share price fall more than 8% yesterday, continuing a sell-off that has seen the crypto exchange hit its lowest level since it IPOed in April 2021. The company’s shares have tumbled more than 25% during the past four trading sessions as fears of contagion from the FTX collapse continue to stalk the markets. (CNBC)
  • Genesis is warning of bankruptcy: Crypto investment bank Genesis has said it could file for bankruptcy if it doesn’t secure fresh funds for its lending unit. The company needs to raise at least USD 1 bn to prevent it from going under, but several days of talks have yet to bear fruit. (Bloomberg)

Never run promotion for shady crypto bros: The Golden State Warriors are the latest to learn this lesson the hard way after they were hit by a class-action lawsuit from an FTX customer alleging they had fraudulently promoted the now-bankrupt crypto exchange, according to Reuters. The NBA champions follow NFL quarterback Tom Brady and tennis star Naomi Osaka to face legal issues for their ties to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who ‘earned’ his USD bns and gained mainstream legitimacy by big-time speculation in the crypto markets. SBF and others at the company now face a wave of lawsuits for allegedly misusing customer funds.

enterprise

Are you a C-suite executive or investor and want to attend our Enterprise Climate X Forum? Drop us a note on climatexrsvp@enterprisemea.com to signal your interest, letting us know your name, title and where you work.

The event takes place on Tuesday, 6 December 2022 at the Grand Egyptian Museum.

CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The US and Russia will hold nuclear talks in Cairo next week: Washington and Moscow will discuss resuming mutual nuclear inspections during week-long talks from Tuesday, 29 November through to 6 December, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to CNN. Ryabkov last week downplayed expectations of reaching an agreement in the Cairo talks, which will look into re-implementing the New START Treaty that allows Washington and Moscow to inspect each other’s weapons stocks. Inspections came to a pause in 2020 thanks to the pandemic.

The deadline to apply for the Chicago Booth Executive Program in El Gouna is Sunday, 27 November. The two-week program, which kicks off in March 2023, offers executives from Egyptian public and private sector the skills to help them “become a better leader for your organization and support Egypt’s growth in the years ahead.”

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

enterprise

*** It’s Going Green day — your weekly briefing of all things green in Egypt: Enterprise’s green economy vertical focuses each Tuesday on the business of renewable energy and sustainable practices in Egypt, everything from solar and wind energy through to water, waste management, sustainable building practices and how you can make your business greener, whatever the sector.

In today’s issue: We take a closer look at the Sharm El Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing, the landmark climate finance roadmap for developing countries launched by the International Cooperation Ministry during COP27.

 

CORRECTED ON 28 NOVEMBER

A previous version of the story had incorrectly concluded that the cabinet would likely delay the state privatization program. The statement from Cabinet Spokesperson Nader Saad had said only that ministers were closely monitoring economic and market conditions globally and locally. The statement did not mention a delay in the program. 

enterprise

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INFRASTRUCTURE

Gov’t to start receiving offers on water desalination projects on Thursday

Gov’t to get the ball rolling on desalination this week and next: Developers interested in bidding for a piece of the Madbouly government’s multi-bn USD water desalination program can start handing in pre-qualification files starting on Thursday and will need to wrap up their submissions by next week, two government sources and a top private-sector CEO told us yesterday.

You can expect lots of interest: More than 70 companies have purchased the tender booklets for the projects, one of the sources said. Both local and international infrastructure operators and investors are expected to apply

What’s the program? Back in April, we reported that the state plans to to offer 19 desalination projects to investors with a combined capacity of 3.3 mn cubic meters per day. The construction cost at the time was estimated at EGP 72 bn, Assem Shukr, the vice president of the Holding Company for Drinking Water and Sanitation, told us. Expect the price tag to have ballooned: Shukr was speaking immediately after the March float of the EGP, and we’ve had a second devaluation (and plenty of additional inflation) since then.

The plan has now changed, but we’re not exactly sure how: One of the sources told us that the government has updated the plan but wouldn’t disclose any of the key details about the projects, how many will be on offer, or over what time frame they could be built.

What we do know: Project developers will be bidding to build, operate and manage the plants, which will be powered by renewable energy, one of the sources said, adding that the government will prioritize companies that help localize the manufacturing of desalination equipment. The plants will be located on the Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts, including at El Hammam in Matrouh Governorate and El Quseir near Safaga.

Expect the usual suspects to show lots of interest: Hassan Allam Holding will participate, as will a consortium made up of Metito Holdings, Scatec, and Orascom Construction. Acwa Power, Al Nowais and Schneider Electric have also reportedly shown interest in bidding.

The government has been saying it will bring private-sector investors for more than three years after launching a water conservation strategy back in 2019. This initial plan envisioned setting up 39 plants with a capacity to process a combined 1.4 mn cbm/d. This was made more ambitious the following year when the Housing Ministry unveiled a 30-year, five-phase plan that would provide another 6.4 mn cbm/d of potable water by 2050. Egypt currently has a total desalination capacity of less than 1 mn cbm/d.

A second phase already planned: The second phase of the plan would be offered next year, with the government set to determine the number of plants to be offered in phase two once it gets a handle on how the first phase rolls out in the coming months.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

The finance industry should be cheering the ‘upheaval’ at Beltone

Employees at Beltone SME have reportedly resigned en masse in what Bloomberg Asharq reports is opposition to a restructuring being carried out by the parent company, Beltone Financial. The newspaper claims staff at Beltone’s SME unit handed in their notices after new Beltone Financial owner Chimera Investment kicked off a restructuring plan. Neither company responded to Asharq’s request for comment.

Other departures: There has also been upheaval at Beltone’s consumer financing arm BelCash, whose managing director resigned two weeks ago, and at the parent company, whose HR director and IT chiefs have both left, according to one of the sources.

Refresher: Abu Dhabi-based Chimera Investments acquired a 56% stake in Beltone Financial in October, replacing Orascom Financial Holding as the company’s controlling shareholder. The new owners went ahead with a boardroom shake-up a few weeks later, replacing the CEO and the chairman, and appointing two new non-executive board members.

See it all in context: “Back in the day” there was a three-way investment banking horse race between EFG Hermes, CI Capital, and Beltone — they fought tooth and nail for AUM, IPOs, M&A mandates, brokerage market share, and research supremacy.

What we have now is a duopoly: EFG Hermes has since emerged as a major global frontier and emerging markets player — and pioneered the NBFS strategy now popular across the industry here in Egypt. CI Capital has become a formidable national player and lined up new firepower through its tie-up with Banque Misr as it now looks to go regional. Soon after the 2011 revolution, Beltone lost its storied investment banking team (which walked out to form M&A shop Akanar Partners after a sale to Goldman Sachs fell through). It then drifted under previous ownership, losing market share and talent, particularly after a bungled 2018 IPO.

Expect more upheaval — and that’s frankly a good thing: Beltone has a storied name, but the company needs restructuring, a clear vision, and a reason for being if it is to challenge today’s duopoly. Chimera and new Beltone Financial CEO Dalia Khorshid will be looking to bring in hard chargers with a mission to remake the company, suggesting it isn’t unreasonable to expect a bit more drama before a stable (and hopefully ambitious) team takes shape to write the company’s next chapter.

M&A WATCH

Actis-backed Honoris’ acquisition of Merit University is off

Honoris won’t be acquiring Merit University after all: Actis-backed Honoris United Universities’ acquisition of Merit University in New Sohag City has fallen through after the two sides failed to reach an agreement, Seddik Afifi, chairman of Merit University’s board of trustees, told Al Mal. Afifi confirmed the news when we spoke with him yesterday afternoon. The pan-African private higher education operator last year signed final agreements that would have seen it acquire a controlling stake in Merit, but the two have now walked away from the transaction, Al Mal reports. Afifi declined to disclose specific reasons why the transaction fell through, though the newspaper notes that the final agreement was contingent on getting permission from the Higher Education Ministry.

Merit is open to new suitors… The university is open to new investors, Afifi said.

…and is investing in new faculties: The university is also investing some EGP 2 bn to launch three new faculties next year, Afifi told us when we reached out yesterday, adding that the company doesn’t see the need to take on debt to finance the investment.

Who are Honoris? Honoris owns and operates 70 campuses and learning centers in 10 African countries and 32 cities catering to around 71k students. It operates 15 institutions ranging from multidisciplinary universities, to specialized schools, to technical and vocational institutes. It is Actis’ main education platform in Africa.

Advisors: Compass Capital acted as advisor to Merit, with Al Tamimi & Co providing counsel on the sell-side. Honoris was represented locally by Matouk Bassiouny & Hennawy, while Clifford Chance acted as international counsel, with PwC having conducted financial and tax due diligence for Honoris.

STARTUP WATCH

Local pharma startup closes USD 8 mn round + Klivvr gets CBE nod

Local B2B pharma platform Grinta has closed a USD 8 mn seed round led by MENA-focused VC Raed Ventures and local fintech fund Nclude, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst and 500 Global, it said in a press release (pdf) yesterday. The capital raised will help the company expand locally, growing its team and scaling its platform.

About Grinta: Founded last year by Mohamed Azab (LinkedIn), Hamza Tag (LinkedIn), Yosra Badr (LinkedIn) and Ali Youssef (LinkedIn), the company’s one-stop platform allows pharma retailers to order inventory as well as providing fulfillment, planning, and financing services. Over the past year, Grinta has acquired local competitor PH Store and software development company EME.

The numbers: The company currently serves over 14k pharmacies in seven governorates with over 20k SKUs, and has so far delivered over 100k orders, Azab said.

EDVENTURES TARGETS FRESH INVESTMENTS-

Education-focused VC EdVentures is looking to deploy USD 1.1 mn in Egypt-born preschool education platform Jeel, it said in a statement (pdf) yesterday. EdVentures is Nahdet Misr for Publishing’s VC arm. “Moving forward, EdVentures is seeking more investments in edtech startups, while expanding globally,” said Dalia Ibrahim, Nahdet Misr CEO and founder of EdVentures.

This would be the VC’s fifth investment in 2022, by our count. EdVentures made a six-figure USD investment in student career advising startup OBM Education in August, and opened the year by investing in OBM Education, Super Fny, and Crafty Workshop alongside the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology. It also participated in Sprints’ USD 1.2 mn series A round which closed in April.

EdVentures portfolio includes online training provider Sprints as well as Akhdar, Career180, OTO Courses, and iSchool.

Egyptian edtech is doing well: Egypt has the largest chunk of the region’s growing edtech sector, which is now home to 1.5k edtech companies, according to data from HolonIQ. Almost half of the education technology based in the region is represented by workforce and corporate training innovations, followed by K-12 and higher education. Pre-K’s contribution is very limited to the overall edtech sector.

KLIVVR GETS THE ALL-CLEAR-

OFH’s Klivvr payment card gets CBE approval: Orascom Financial Holding’s (OFH) fintech arm Klivvr has received its license from the Central Bank of Egypt to launch its mobile app and payment cards, the company announced yesterday.

When’s the launch? OFH CEO Nils Bachtler declined to commit to a timeframe when we asked yesterday, saying only that the company expects to launch them soon.

Klivvr’s card and payment app will allow users to make online and in-store purchases, withdraw cash from local ATMs, and receive payments. It’s launching its services in partnership with Arab African International Bank, Visa and Misr Digital Payments.

Background: We’ve seen a steady stream of new prepaid cards hit the local market this year, with the central bank recently approving cards from Banque du Caire, Telda, ADIB and Khazna.

MORE STARTUP NEWS-

  • Cashback services startup WaffarX partnered with CIB to offer incentives and other perks to CIB customers who shop through its new joint app. (Zawya)

LEGISLATION WATCH

House gives preliminary approval to tighter controls on telecom equipment

MPs give early nod to tighter controls on telecom equipment: The House of Representatives approved in principle legislative amendments that would tighten controls on telecom equipment considered a threat to national security. Amendments to the 2003 Telecommunications Act approved by the Senate last month would ban the possession, use, manufacture of any telecom equipment without a prior approval from the National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA).

We’re still in the dark about which types of equipment could land us in jail: Many MPs complained that the amendments fell short of specifying what types of equipment would be banned by the legislation. “As the bill doesn't specify what kind of telecom equipment would be banned, we have fears that this ban could extend to include personal computers, laptops, watches, and even stethoscopes,” said Rep. Ayman Abul Ela, an opposition MP from the Reform and Development Party. House Deputy Speaker and businessman Rep. Mohamed Abul Enein also shared similar concerns and called on the NTRA to release a list specifying which equipment would be banned.

Our elected representatives seized the opportunity to complain about telecom companies, accusing them of poor performance while asking the NTRA to press them to improve services.

Harsh penalties for violators: Those who import, manufacture, assemble and market the equipment without a license from the NTRA would be at risk of jail terms ranging from one to five years and a fine of EGP 2 mn to EGP 5 mn. A one-year jail term and a fine ranging between EGP 100k and EGP 200k would be handed to people convicted of possessing, installing or operating any of the equipment without the regulator’s approval.

What’s next? The bill will be put up for a final vote in an upcoming session, House Speaker Hanafi El Gebali said. If passed, it will be signed into law by President El Sisi.

ALSO GETTING A NOD– MPs approved yesterday a EUR 250 mn loan agreement between Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to upgrade Cairo Metro Line 2. The money will be used to purchase new rolling stock and refurbish existing trains.

FROM THE COMMITTEES-

#1- Senate + House get down to business on wildcat builders: The House and Senate housing committees began yesterday discussing a new government-drafted bill that would allow for more illegal buildings to get their status reconciled. The Housing Committee at the Senate approved the draft bill in principle yesterday during a meeting attended by representatives from the government, according to local press. Legislation passed in 2019 put in place a framework to settle building code violations but didn’t impose unified rules across the county, meaning that governorates have been implementing the law differently. The government has also been slow to respond to reconciliation requests.

#2- House econ committee quizzes competition chief: Mahmoud Momtaz, head of the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA), answered questions from the House Economic Committee on whether legislation needs to be amended to improve competitive neutrality (i.e. ensuring that state-owned enterprises and private-sector firms are operating on a level playing field).

The government has said it is interested in leveling the playing field for private companies, and pledged that the ECA would be handed new powers to block state-owned enterprises from engaging in monopolistic practices as part of its new privatization strategy.

A QUICK REMINDER- The government has not said when it will publish the final version of its state ownership document, which was supposed to be unveiled at the Egypt Economic Conference almost a month ago.

enterprise

LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS

COP27 and climate change barely got a look-in on the airwaves last night for the first time in what seems like a lifetime: Replacing it were RSV, the World Cup and yesterday’s earthquake in the Mediterranean.

This story went viral on the airwaves: Everyone and their mothers were talking about the respiratory virus currently infecting kids across the country after Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffer’s presser yesterday. The RSV (“respiratory syncytial virus”) has infected around 1.6k people since October, Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi said (watch, runtime: 1:48), urging people to wear mask to curb its spread (watch, runtime: 0:33). Abdel Ghaffar made an appearance on El Hekaya (watch, runtime: 10:00) to assuage public concerns, telling show host Amr Adib that health authorities are used to dealing with RSV. There’s no specific medication or vaccine for the RSV globally, given that it’s a mild infection despite it being highly-transmissive, he added. The virus and the minister’s press conference also received coverage from Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 10:16) and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 11:37)

Background: The spread of the RSV has raised concerns among parents due to its being highly contagious and disproportionately affecting children. Its symptoms are similar to flu, including higher body temperatures and a sore throat.

The footie-less coverage of the World Cup continues: Egypt’s talking heads continued to give Qatar’s hosting of the tournament glowing reviews yesterday, while El Hadidi dedicated time to praising Fifa’s decision yesterday to ban players from wearing rainbow armbands in solidarity with LGBTQ people. “Implementing such a decision comes under respect to the hosting country’s Arab and Islamic traditions,” El Hadidi said, describing it as “the right call” (watch, runtime: 3:22). Meanwhile, Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 6:53) dedicated more airtime to covering the handshake between El Sisi and Erdogan on Sunday, and Al Hayah Al Youm took note of El Sisi’s phone call to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to congratulate the latter on a successful opening ceremony (watch, runtime: 2:08).

Yesterday’s earthquake got most of them talking: El Hekaya, (watch, runtime: 5:18), Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 5:45) and Ala Mas’ouleety (watch, runtime: 4:47).

EGYPT IN THE NEWS

After more than two weeks of non-stop COP27 + human rights coverage, the global media isn’t completely ‘Egypted’ out. Though there’s no single story dominating the conversation this morning, there are a number of stories floating around the interwebs, mostly focusing on the country’s historical monuments and various tourism initiatives:

Bloomberg is calling the government’s ambitious development plans into question, which it says are under threat from tougher economic conditions at home and abroad, demographic challenges, and climate change.

Also getting ink:

  • Karnak Temple is getting a face lift: Restoration works are underway at the Great Hypostyle Hall of Luxor’s Karnak Temple ahead of the winter tourist season. (Al Monitor)
  • The Rosetta Stone repatriation campaign continues: Former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass has so far collected 100k signatures out of the 1 mn target for a petition to repatriate the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum. (The National)
  • The Tourism Ministry recently launched the Holy Family Trail, which links together 25 destinations along the route said to have been walked by Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. (BBC)

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Among the other stories we’re paying attention to this morning:

EDUCATION-

  • As many as 15 consortiums have qualified to submit bids to build 1k language schools by 2030 under public-private partnership (PPP) framework, Atter Hannoura, director of the Finance Ministry’s PPP unit, reportedly told Hapi Journal. The terms of the tender are expected to be released before the end of the year.

INFRASTRUCTURE-

  • Alexandria Port Authority signed a MoU with a Chinese consortium to plan the construction, management and operation of the logistics zone at Alexandria Port. (Transport Ministry statement)
  • The Irrigation Ministry signed four contracts worth EGP 225 mn for its Kitchener Drain depollution project, which is being supervised by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The contracts were estimated at EUR 10.3 mn before tax, with the project set to be finalized by 24 January 2024. (Al Borsa)

RENEWABLES-

  • Three Qatari companies are mulling investing in new and renewable energy production materials in Egypt, Muharram Helal, the chairman of the Egypt-Qatar Business Council, reportedly said. (Al Borsa)

FINANCE-

  • Pioneers Properties for Urban Development raised EGP 292.5 mn in a securitized bond issuance, the third in a wider EGP 3 bn program, according to a statement (pdf) from our friends at EFG Hermes, which managed the sale.
  • The Ins. Federation of Egypt has finalized drafting the first ins. policy for EVs in the country. (Al Borsa)
  • EFG-Hermes’ BNPL platform ValU will offer payment solutions to shoppers at Talaat Moustafa Group’s flagship Open Air Mall in Madinaty and Gateway Mall in Rehab. (Statement, pdf)
  • Banque du Caire has launched a foreign exchange company dubbed Cairo Exchange after receiving approval from the Central Bank of Egypt. (Al Mal)

ALSO-

  • e-Finance’s e-commerce subsidiary eAswaaq is set to start selling Schneider Electric products on its platform. (Statement, pdf)

PLANET FINANCE

Powered by
EFG Hermes - https://efghermes.com/

Qatar + China just agreed one of the biggest LNG deals in history: Qatar agreed a long-term LNG supply agreement with China worth USD 60 bn, Bloomberg reports. Announced by the companies yesterday, the pact will see Qatar Energy ship 4 mn tons of LNG every year to China’s Sinopec for 27 years starting 2026. This is one of the world’s largest LNG deal ever, and is both China’s longest supply agreement and its biggest by volume, according to the business news outlet.

Down

EGX30

12,450

-0.6% (YTD: +4.2%)

Up

USD (CBE)

Buy 24.48

Sell 24.57

Up

USD at CIB

Buy 24.49

Sell 24.55

None

Interest rates CBE

13.25% deposit

14.25% lending

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Tadawul

10,931

-1.1% (YTD: -3.1%)

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ADX

10,399

-0.6% (YTD: +22.5%)

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DFM

3,339

-0.4% (YTD: +4.4%)

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S&P 500

3,950

-0.4% (YTD: -17.1%)

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FTSE 100

7,377

-0.1% (YTD: -0.1%)

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Euro Stoxx 50

3,909

-0.4% (YTD: -9.1%)

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USD 87.67

+0.1%

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USD 6.70

+6.3%

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USD 1,754.60

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BTC

USD 15,633

-4.0% (YTD: -65.8%)

THE CLOSING BELL-

The EGX30 fell 0.6% at yesterday’s close on turnover of EGP 1.76 bn (32.5% above the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is up 4.2% YTD.

In the green: Orascom Construction (+3.5%), Abu Qir Fertilizers (+3.2%) and Telecom Egypt (+2.1%).

In the red: Eastern Company (-7.5%), Rameda Pharma (-3.6%) and CIRA (-3.3%).

DIPLOMACY

El Sisi + Erdogan voice optimism about turning a new page

A new era for Egypt-Turkey ties? Both President El Sisi and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have spoken of the need to improve ties following Monday’s surprise meeting between the regional foes in Qatar. Ankara released photos of the two leaders shaking hands on the sidelines of the World Cup opening ceremony in Doha in their first face-to-face meeting since El Sisi came to power in 2013.

  • From Cairo: Ittihadiya said in a statement yesterday that the two leaders “confirmed the depth of historical ties between the two countries” and agreed that the meeting would serve as a starting point for improving relations.
  • From Ankara: “We said that a process can begin. A step has been taken here to start such a process, and we have had discussions. I hope we can move the process, which started with our ministers, to a good point later, hopefully to the high-level meetings,” Turkish media reported Erdogan as saying following the meeting.

Ending a decade of hostility: Egypt and Turkey have been at each other’s throats over Turkey’s meddling in Egyptian politics, particularly after cutting ties in the aftermath of the 2013 revolution, which overthrew the Islamist regime that Ankara backed. Officials tentatively began discussions about dialing back tensions, which have risen further in recent years due to rivalry in Libya. The two sides have not been able to come to a compromise over Turkey’s role in Libya or its support for the Ikhwan, which led to the talks being suspended after only two rounds.

greenEconomy

Egypt launched a landmark guide to climate finance for developing nations at COP27: The International Cooperation Ministry launched the Sharm El Sheikh Guidebook to Just Financing (pdf) on Finance Day at COP. Meant to provide a comprehensive roadmap to help developing nations attract the funds they need for the green transition, the guide was developed through year-long consultations with over 100 partners, including government representatives, DFIs, the private sector, banks, climate finance funds, and other stakeholders. It was written in partnership with international development partners including the African Development Bank, Citi, the Convergence network for blended finance, the OECD, UN, UNDP, and USAID, among others.

“Just financing” — another climate finance term to add to the growing lexicon. The guidebook “brings the idea of ‘justice’ to climate finance with the objective of translating commitments into implementable projects.” That means applying the tenets of climate justice to project financing — among them, that the drivers of climate change in the developed world should shoulder more of the costs of addressing its impacts, and that developing nations have a right to continued industrialization even as the world as a whole looks to decrease emissions. The concept of “just financing” spans loss and damage (compensation to developing nations facing climate disasters), adaptation (preventive measures to adapt to climate change), and mitigation (projects to reduce overall emissions.)

It’s significant that this was unveiled at COP27 — the COP of implementation, climate justice and Africa: The guide sets out a framework to boost climate finance to developing nations — in part by helping them create a pipeline of bankable climate-friendly projects. Key to its approach are some major COP27 themes: the right to development for all nations, financial compensation for loss and damage, access to financing and resources, and accountability based on countries’ “common but differentiated responsibilities.”

And we’re already seeing this in action with our newly-launched Nexus on Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) program: NWFE was hailed by a recent UN-commissioned climate finance report (pdf) as a “pioneering model” to help attract investments to climate-friendly projects in emerging markets in a concrete and practical way, we noted. The NWFE climate funding agreements Egypt secured at COP add up to nearly USD 10 bn, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat said recently.

The guide is clear — we can’t tackle climate change without private investment. Just 1.4% of the USD 410 tn in privately held global financial assets would be enough to bridge the gap in global climate finance, the guide tells us. By contrast, the collective funds of multilateral development banks, if directed to climate action, would make up only 4% of what’s needed. Every country needs private investment for climate action, so enhancing climate project investability — the “potential and capacity of a project to attract non-public investment,” is crucial, the guide says.

It outlines how financial and non-financial tools can be used to entice private investment by reducing risk:

#1- Mobilize concessional capital: The guide outlines ways of mobilizing concessional capital and risk ins. instruments to create investment prospects “with acceptable risk-return profiles for the private sector,” along with design-stage grants and technical assistance to improve project viability, impact measurement, and bankability. It lays out how “concessional catalytic capital” from public and philanthropic organizations could be awarded to blended finance vehicles that reduce investment risk.

#2- Increase debt sustainability: The framework also outlines how to increase investment quality in developing nations by offering more equity and local currency debt, increasing debt sustainability.

#3- Use non-blended finance, like carbon markets and resilience credits, to spur private investment.

#4- Share stakeholder knowledge + increase transparency and accountability to boost the investment environment: Governments need to work with other stakeholders to help identify and prioritize climate investment needs, along with existing technical and financial gaps, the guide tells us. And all stakeholders — including development partners and beneficiary governments — need to improve on transparency and accountability in their planning, reporting and communication, it adds.

The guide also offers specific recommendations for how stakeholders can spur investment in Africa:

Governments: African governments should generate pipelines of projects for blended finance, particularly in priority sectors like energy, agriculture, water, and health, which are “essential for sustainable development.” They can “crowd in” private sector investment and reduce risk by upping transparency in areas like land procurement. Where public sector investment is high, procurement policies should be reformed to “prioritize climate outcomes” (by requiring low-emissions construction, for example). Improving the ease of doing business and contract enforcement, removing subsidies for non-climate-friendly industries, and reducing import tariffs for key equipment would drive climate investment. Governments should also produce data on investment risks, allocation, and outcomes to show where funds — public and private — are being deployed, their impact, and alignment with country NDCs.

African governments should “leverage the potential of regional collaboration to create networks for mobilization of climate finance,” the guide adds.

Multilateral development partners (MDPs): MDPs can spur private investment by assuming some of the risk — both real and perceived — of climate-focused investment in African nations. They can do this by seeding early-stage projects, offering guarantees or first-loss capital, and exiting to private investors after de-risking the investments. Partnering with local lenders helps distribute capital more equitably within African economies, where many climate projects operate on a relatively small scale. MDPs can help strengthen the impact criteria and KPIs for financing climate-friendly projects to build investor confidence. And they can simplify the mechanisms for accessing climate finance — especially for low-income African countries.

Private investors: The private sector can provide essential “upward feedback” to help governments and MDPs understand their requirements and design climate and business policy accordingly. A proportion of their financing should be specifically allocated to adaptation and resilience projects — which are not typically attractive areas for private investment. By doing this, and making “first investments” in new sectors and geographic areas alongside “trusted co-investors,” they can help spur a virtuous cycle of de-risking and increase market maturity. They should also design new, “fit-for-purpose investment vehicles” that make more use of blended finance and employ market fund structures with longer durations than the typical ten-year model.

When all this works — as seems to be happening for the NWFE program — “you’ve got everybody coming to the party,” the EBRD’s managing director of climate strategy and delivery Harry Boyd-Carpenter told us recently. Under NWFE’s energy pillar, public money to upgrade our transmission network and close old fossil fuel plants will create the conditions for USD bns of inflows to our renewables sector from the private sector.


Your top green economy stories for the week:

  • COP is a wrap: Delegates from nearly 200 countries left COP27 with a landmark agreement to create a loss and damage fund to help vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters triggered by richer countries’ emissions.
  • A wellspring of new renewables projects: Initial agreements for green hydrogen and wind power projects worth up to USD 119 bn were signed during COP27.
  • The global population is now at 8 bn, a milestone that brings daunting — but not insurmountable — climate challenges.

CALENDAR

NOVEMBER

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

20 November-18 December (Sunday-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 and Pafix, Egypt International Exhibition Center, New Cairo.

29 November – 6 December (Tuesday-Tuesday): 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.

5-7 December (Monday-Wednesday): Food Africa 2022 kicks off at Egypt International Exhibitions Center.

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.

January: Infinity + Africa Finance Corporation to close acquisition of Lekela Power.

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.

End of December/early January: SFE’s pre-IPO fund to kick off roadshow.

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

4Q 2022: 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.

1Q 2023: Internal trade database to launch.

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