Meet our analyst of the week: Azimut’s Lina Hesham
OUR ANALYST OF THE WEEK- Lina Hesham, investment analyst at Azimut Egypt Asset Management (Linkedin).
My name is Lina Hesham and I’ve been at Azimut Capital since the start of 2020. This is what I wanted to do since college and it’s a series of fortunate events that brought me here. I studied at Cairo University’s Georgia State University joint program and a professor of mine, Hussein Atta, was the one who made me fall in love with the job of analyst. He really directed me on what I needed to do to get there. I started off as a graduate trainee at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and then came closer to the field as a financial data analyst at Mubasher International. I then moved to Fawry and then Naeem Holding for a few years before landing my position as a buy-side analyst at Azimut.
Working on the buy-side during the pandemic was challenging, but exciting. Things were changing at such a fast pace and the full force of the lockdown really came down on the markets. We always had to stay on top of everything, but here we are, somewhat on the other side of it all.
I cover healthcare, F&B, and petrochemicals. It’s a very diverse mix and it really gives you an overview of everything going on. It also ensures that the job is never boring — one day you’re working on an oil company and the next on manufacturing. The petrochem sector is my favorite though as there are so many global and local dynamics to keep in mind.
The best part of my job is the rush you get when you make a correct call. At Azimut we always clap for each other and have a mini-party for the person when their judgement turns out correct [laughs].
The worst part of my job is that you can’t disconnect. Everything comes with a price, but it can be a bit hard when you feel that even if you travel to the ends of the Earth, it’s essential to have a cellular connection. It’s also very hard to explain my job to my friends and family, so I usually just end up saying I work in the stock market [laughs].
My theory of investment is to observe what the focus of the state is on. If there’s a government initiative in a sector, that usually causes a big push for firms on the EGX. The same goes for global trends as well. For example, if commodity prices are rising globally, there’s a big chance they’ll grow here as well.
I always like to put things into context when it comes to looking at firms. I need to understand the industry’s demand, supply, big players, competition, red tape, and growth rate to assess if it’s maturing. Then I look at the individual firm as a part of the overall picture and one of the important factors that comes into play at this point is the management as they are in charge of capturing potential growth in the sector.
It’s unclear whether the EGX30 will close in the green or red this year. News keeps shaking the market from the capital gains tax to GERD. That isn’t to say that there isn’t major improvement compared to last year, but it can go both ways given the many uncontrolled variables in the mix.
I think 2022 could be the year of Egypt. Once the E-Finance IPO comes through, it could open the door for more companies to list. There are also a lot of indicators that we’re looking at that have us feeling optimistic. GDP growth rates so far are really positive and many firms reported really strong results so far this year. Meanwhile, tourism is recovering steadily which helps other sectors as well such as F&B who will have a major customer for their products. LNG prices are also going up which Egypt could capitalize on in the balance of payments and initiatives such as the export rebate program are taking off.
I’m currently reading Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb after it was recommended to me by a friend.
I like to practice kickboxing for fun. It’s definitely my thing as I get to relieve all my stress into the sandbag. I always leave the class energized and pumped. Otherwise, I’m very into the Netflix and just chilling out.
The EGX30 fell 0.5% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 1.2 bn (24.5% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net sellers. The index is down 3.7% YTD.
In the green: Abou Kir Fertilizers (+2.7%), Ezz Steel (+2.6%) and GB Auto (+2.5%).
In the red: MM Group (-3.4%), Fawry (-3.1%) and Cleopatra Hospitals (-3.0%).