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Thursday, 9 March 2023

Agthia wants to make Egypt into an export hub. PLUS: news from the Suez Canal, PIF, Agility and telecoms


Egypt an export hub for Agthia? ADQ-owned Emirati F&B company Agthia is looking to make Egypt an export hub for its products, CEO Alan Smith told Reuters. Agthia last year bought a 60% stake in Egyptian food company Auf Group, and in 2021 acquired 75% of Atyab brand owner Ismailia Agricultural and Industrial Investments. “Our intent [in Egypt] is really now to bed those acquisitions, consolidate them and unlock the potential there to see how we can build Egypt as an export hub as well,” Smith said. The company currently exports around USD 16.3 mn from Egypt, he added.


Another record year for Suez Canal revenues? The Suez Canal is eyeing USD 9 bn in revenues this year, up 12.5% from USD 8 bn in 2022, Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie told Asharq Business. Canal revenues rose to USD 1.5 bn in the first two months of the year, up from USD 1.1 bn in the same period in 2022, the authority said this week. The authority is planning to raise fees for oil ships transiting the waterway from the beginning of April.


PIF to invest in MIH subsidiary to up solar panel glass production: State-owned Metallurgical Industries Holding Company (MIH) signed a MoU with the Egyptian arm of Saudi wealth fund PIF to increase the capital of its subsidiary El Nasr Glass and Crystal Company, the cabinet said in a statement yesterday. The fresh investment will be used to add production lines making glass panels used in solar plants, the statement read, without specifying the value or mechanism of the investment. The agreement comes as part of the state ownership policy, which aims to more than double the private sector’s role in the economy and attract private investment.


More data centers, this time via Agility Logistics: Regional warehousing and industrial firm Agility Logistics Parks (ALP) will launch a string of data centers across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Ghana “with more to come,” according to a company statement. The centers will be built at “ALP warehousing complexes in fast-growing markets and mega-cities that are looking to add hyperscale data center capacity,” the statement reads, with the Egypt center set to be built in Cairo. Agility owns warehouses and industrial land in 12 emerging-market countries.

REMEMBER- El Sewedy Data Centers and Emirati firm Gulf Data Hub last month revealed plans to invest USD 2.1 bn to build three data center complexes here.


More FDI to our outsourcing sector: Paris-headquartered IT and consulting company Capgemini plans to double down on recruitment to grow its new outsourcing center here, according to a company statement (pdf). The company plans to expand the center’s workforce by hiring some 3k employees over the next three years, said Capgemini Egypt CEO Hossam Seifeldin. Capgemini was amongst 29 global firms to ink agreements with the Communications Ministry in December to expand their outsourcing operations to Egypt.


Vodafone Group, e& to cooperate everywhere (except Egypt): Telecoms outfits Etisalat Group (e&) and Vodafone Group will within weeks sign a cooperation framework for the 35 markets where only one of them currently has a presence, e& CEO Hatem Dowidar told Asharq Business. Egypt is the only country where the two firms’ operations overlap, Dowidar said. “Therefore we can cooperate in the rest of the markets in a way that improves our performance and theirs,” he is quoted as saying.

REFRESHER: e& increased its stake in Vodafone Group to 14% last month. The company acquired a 9.8% stake in Vodafone for USD 4.4 bn last May.


The national strategy for higher ed is here: Government officials put forth a host of recommendations to advance higher education at the launch of the new national strategy for higher education on Tuesday, the Higher Education Ministry said in a statement. The proposals cover investment, curriculum development, internationalization, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the advancement of university hospitals. They include setting “codified rules” to govern partnerships between the private sector and the state, working to make Egyptian universities attractive institutions for foreign students, and fully financing all stages of innovation.


Elevate Healthcare in talks to acquire majority stake in Nile Scan: Elevate Capital’s healthcare investment platform is looking to acquire a 70-80% stake in clinical radiology and lab service provider Nile Scan & Labs, Elevate comms head Bassel Chanaa told Enterprise. The company is valued at around EGP 500 mn, and the transaction is expected to close in the coming months, he added. Nile Scan provides radiology and clinical laboratory services and has 10 branches in the greater Cairo area and one in Alexandria, according to its website.

CLARIFICATION- A version of this story run on Wednesday, 8 March incorrectly reported the Elevate platform was seeking 100% of Nile Scan and said the transaction would close “in April.” Misr Capital, acting as a unit of Banque Misr, was the largest limited partner in the Elevate fund’s diagnostics vertical. We have removed that version of the story from our website.


Qalyub train crash: The death toll from Tuesday’s train crash in Qalyub has risen to four, the Health Ministry said yesterday. Twenty-three people were injured in the incident.

Driver arrested: The Public Prosecution yesterday ordered the arrest of the driver for four days while it carries out its investigation, it said in a statement. The incident occurred when the train hit a concrete barrier at a station, causing the locomotive and one of the carriages to derail, it said.

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