THIS MORNING: EGYPS rolls on + EGX, SFE, and El Sisi all in the Gulf
Good morning, wonderful people, and a very happy Monday.
THE BIG STORY here at home this morning: Privatization is still getting top billing on news that the state could offer 20-30% of its new hotels company to strategic investors, while Public Enterprises Minister Mahmoud Esmat made an appearance at the House of Representatives to defend the liquidation of some failing public companies.
WATCH THIS SPACE- Following a quiet period after COP27, we now expect our hydrogen ambitions to return to center stage before Ramadan. The Madbouly government’s national hydrogen strategy is just about ready, two sources with first-hand knowledge of the process tell us. One source expects the government to release the highly anticipated strategy between the end of this month and early next, while another says it should wrap up some time in March.
REFRESHER- The strategy is a key milestone for developers who have signaled interest in the Sisi administration’s world-scale hydrogen program, which would demand the investment of some USD 40 bn in renewable energy alone to generate the 40 GW of power needed if every project now on the drawing board makes it to implementation. The state has inked framework agreements worth c. USD 85 bn for green hydrogen and ammonia plants.
THE BIG STORY ABROAD- All eyes are on the sky this morning after US fighter jets shot down another flying object over North American airspace. The international press is trying to figure out what the latest objects were (spoiler alert: probably not spaceships) and what the apparent sudden proliferation of UFOs — the first of which was a suspected Chinese spy balloon —- means for tensions between China and the US. The shootdown is the fourth in the past week. (WSJ | Financial Times | Bloomberg | New York Times | Reuters.)
It’s a big night / morning for the “other” football: The US football Super Bowl was ongoing as we got ready to hit “send” on this morning’s issue, with the Philadelphia Eagles leading Kansas City Chiefs 27-21 at the end of the third quarter.
SMART POLICY- Officials are on a three-front push this week to drum up strategic and portfolio investment from the Gulf:
The UAE and Saudi Arabia leg of the EGX roadshow kicks off today, Al Mal reports citing sources it says are in the know. Representatives of the bourse, the Financial Regulatory Authority and the central bank are visiting the two countries to drum up interest as the state gears up for a number of potential IPOs this year under its privatization program. EGX head Rami El Dokany will meet with unnamed foreign funds in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, and discuss potential dual listings on the EGX with unnamed Saudi and Emirati companies, according to Al Mal. The roadshow, which is being managed with the help of Al Ahly Pharos, kicked off in October.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi yesterday landed in Abu Dhabi, where he held bilateral talks with UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan ahead of attending the World Government Summit in Dubai. Meanwhile, Planning Minister Hala El Said is leading a business delegation to several Gulf countries along with Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) head Ayman Soliman to drum up interest in the state offering program.
OUT OF EGYPS-
The Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS) kicked off yesterday and continues through Wednesday. Here are the highlights from day one:
Three oil tenders in 2023: The state is planning to offer three international gas and oil exploration tenders this year, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said during his opening statement on the first day of the three-day Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS), (watch, runtime: 7:43.) The ministry kicked off an international oil and gas tender for 12 exploration blocks in the Mediterranean and Nile Delta at the end of last year as it works to boost output for export.
Ramping up exploration: “An ambitious plan has been developed with international partners until 2025 to drill over 300 exploration wells,” El Molla added.
El Molla sat down with his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz to discuss joint efforts to boost gas exports to Europe, marking Katz’ first visit to Egypt, according to a statement from the Oil Ministry. El Molla praised the potential of the US-brokered maritime demarcation between Israel and Lebanon to open up more gas discoveries in the region. The pair also discussed Chevron’s role in boosting output from both countries.
REMEMBER- El Molla and Katz are scheduled for a meeting with EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson on advancing an agreement to increase gas exports to Europe signed in June between Egypt, Israel and the EU
DATA POINT- Oil demand is set to surpass pre-pandemic levels this year to reach 102 mn barrels a day, Reuters reports, citing a speech by OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais during EGYPS yesterday. Al Ghais said demand is forecast to grow further to 110 mn barrels per day by 2025.
^^ EGYPS also made Last Night’s Talk Shows (below).
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-
MPs are back at it today. Their comparatively workaday agenda includes:
- A vote on a draft tourism bill that would strip the power to form and regulate tourism chambers from the tourism minister and place it in the hands of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF). MPs yesterday greenlit some 60 articles of the bill, which they approved in principle last month;
- Debate and a vote on a bill that will allow the oil minister to contract two companies — state-owned EGAS and Cheiron Energy — to explore for oil and gas west of the Burullus offshore gas field in the Mediterranean;
- Beware, book pirates: The Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee will discuss amendments to the 2002 law regulating intellectual property rights to crackdown on book piracy.
AND TOMORROW- Youth and Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhy will be in the hot seat to answer questions from MPs on youth centers, sporting clubs, stadiums and Egypt’s preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The ministry is preparing a study aimed at boosting the sports sector’s contribution to the GDP, Sobhy told Asharq Business in an interview yesterday (watch, runtime: 2:40.)
MEANWHILE- No longer OOO: “Holiday is over, back to work,” dairy giant Juhayna’s Seif Thabet wrote on his Linkedin page over the weekend. The post was accompanied by shots of Seif with Juhayna employees.
Missed this week’s Inside Industry? In our weekly vertical exploring all things industry and manufacturing, we looked at how the government’s plans to set indicative pricing for strategic commodities could impact manufacturers.
COME TO OUR NEXT ENTERPRISE FORUM-
We’re excited to unveil our next C-level event: The Enterprise Exports & FDI Forum, where we will take a deep dive into two of the most critical topics affecting our community.
Exports and foreign direct investment (FDI) have never been more important to our economy — or our businesses — than in the wake of the float of the EGP. We think we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build an export-led economy that makes us a magnet for FDI and all the benefits that will come with it for our nation.
CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.
*** It’s Blackboard day: We have our weekly look at the business of education in Egypt, from pre-K through the highest reaches of higher ed.
In today’s issue: EGX-listed education stocks are living up to their defensive reputation.