Meet our analyst of the week: Beltone’s Neveen Ghonima
OUR ANALYST OF THE WEEK- Neveen Ghonima, associate vice president at Beltone Financial (Linkedin).
My name is Neveen Ghonima and I’ve been covering the consumer sector for 10 years now. I graduated from AUC with a degree in business in 2011 and I obtained my masters in quantitative economics from an Erasmus Mundus joint program. I always knew that I wanted to work in research — it came naturally to me since both of my parents are academics and I grew up around that environment. I had short stints in teaching and investment banking, but it wasn’t for me and I went into equity research instead, which was a natural fit. I started at Pharos before moving to Beltone in 2016 and I’ve been there ever since.
The best part of my job is that the fast moving consumer goods sector gives me a chance to provide foreign clients with some local flavor. I like to retell my experience as a consumer using the products from the firms we cover. I give clients first hand insights into what people think of the products, how they’re selling on the shelves, what’s being marketed heavily, any new products that are coming out and what the target persona is — it’s these things that give foreign clients an added value as they get a sense of what the companies’ roles are in the day to day.
The worst part of my job is always being on call. You can’t take a few days off freely — something could happen and you’ll have to jump back in. However, it’s a blessing that research is something you can do from home and I’ve been enjoying that for a while now. I do miss the client meetings and seeing my work family, but it's good having the option to WFH when covid cases rise.
Covid has made things very dynamic when it comes to research. We have to review our forecasts more frequently than we used to and with everything going on with the supply chain crisis and commodity prices increasing, there are so many additional factors you need to consider when looking at stocks.
I think the consumer goods sector will grow in 2022 despite the omicron variant. The biggest hit would be from resumed lockdowns, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing reduced movement in the coming period. Consumption is increasing and there are new behavior trends that started in 2020 — such as people being more health conscious and using more hygiene and safety detergents — that will stick around. There have also been lifestyle changes that have accelerated due to the pandemic such as the move to online shopping and paying digitally.
I’m a purely research person so my theory of investment is, of course, to look at the fundamentals [laughs]. If strong fundamentals are there, companies will continue to grow regardless of any shocks. There might be hiccups or slowing of growth, but the existing value and potential will always propel it forward.
The most important factor I look at before recommending an investment is the management and transparency. With time and experience, you get a sense of whether the guidance they’re giving is reasonable and true. Some management teams are more credible than others and this shows when they follow through with their forward looking statements. Of course, even this is to a reasonable degree because something like covid-19 could show up and change everything.
Liquidity is the biggest issue for the EGX in 2022. The market is mostly retail now and institutions are not as active as they were before. It’s a serious overhang and some foreign investors have exited the market entirely due to it. We’re hoping that more IPOs will improve the liquidity a bit and bring back the institutional investors.
If I had to cover another industry, it would probably be non-banking financial services (NBFS). Overall, NBFS is booming and it’s a very interesting place to be, especially in Egypt. However, the consumer sector is my favorite and I can’t really think of myself in anything else [laughs].
The last great thing I watched is Don’t Look Up. It’s a bit exaggerated, but it is true in the sense that the world can be very extremely shallow. I also appreciated the climate change analogy and how the world is blind to it.
In my downtime, I spend time with my children and husband. I’m the proud mother of Fouad and Farah and they occupy most of my time. When I can, I squeeze in some reading or working out. I love to run; in the early days of covid, I would start off my day with a 5k run.
The EGX30 fell 0.6% at today’s close on turnover of EGP 688 mn (39.5% below the 90-day average). Local investors were net buyers. The index is down 3.4% YTD.
In the green: Speed Medical (+2.2%), GB Auto (+2.1%) and Heliopolis Housing (+1.6%).
In the red: Fawry (-2.4%), AMOC (-2.1%) and CIB (-1.3%).