Archive for the 'Egypt' Category

Egypt is Africa’s new #1 investment destination

The challenge for African economies is to adapt to commodity slowdown and sluggish production growth. Many countries have suffered stress in the past three years, and the latest report from a leading investment bank suggests the new winners – and who is lagging. Rand Merchant Bank’s (RMB) Where to Invest in Africa 2018 report shows changes in the top investment destinations in Africa.

South Africa is off the top spot, edged aside by Egypt, and Nigeria and Algeria have crashed out of the top 10. The theme is “money talks” and focuses on major sources of dollar revenues, important income-generators and investment opportunities.

But the report compares 191 global jurisdictions and measures African against country groupings. African countries are still at the lower end of the global-performance spectrum, which is still dominated by the US, UK, Australia and Germany.

In Africa, according to the RMB press release, there is a new pharaoh in town: “Egypt (#1) displaced South Africa (#2) largely because of its superior economic activity score and sluggish growth rates in South Africa, which have deteriorated markedly over the past seven years. South Africa also faces mounting concerns over issues of institutional strength and governance though in South Africa’s favour are its currency, equity and capital markets which are still a cut above the rest, with many other African nations facing liquidity constraints.

“Morocco (#3) retained its third position for a third consecutive year having benefitted from a greatly enhanced operating environment since the Arab Spring which began in 2010. Surprisingly, Ethiopia (#4), a country dogged by socio-political instability, displaced Ghana (#5) to take fourth spot mostly because of its rapid economic growth, having brushed past Kenya as the largest economy in East Africa. Ghana’s slide to fifth position was mostly due to perceptions of worsening corruption and weaker economic freedom.

“Kenya (#6) holds firm in the top 10 at number six. Despite being surpassed by Ethiopia, investors are still attracted by Kenya’s diverse economic structure, pro-market policies and brisk consumer spending growth. A host of business-friendly reforms aimed at rooting out corruption and steady economic growth helped Tanzania (#7) climb by two places to number seven. Rwanda (#8) re-entered the top 10 having spent two years on the periphery, helped by being one of the fastest reforming economies in the world, high real growth rates and its continuing attempt to diversify its economy.

“At number nine, Tunisia (#9) has made great strides in advancing political transition while an improved business climate has been achieved by structural reforms, greater security and social stability. Cote d’Ivoire (#10) slipped two places to take up the tenth position. Although its business environment scoring is still relatively low, its government has made significant strides in inviting investment into the country leading to a strong increase in foreign direct investment over the years resulting in one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

“For the first time, Nigeria (#13) does not feature in the top 10, with its short-term investment appeal having been eroded by recessionary conditions. Uganda is steadily closing in on the top 10 though market activity is likely to remain subdued after a tumultuous 2016 marred by election-related uncertainty, a debilitating drought and high commercial lending rates.

“Though Botswana, Mauritius and Namibia are widely rated as investment grade economies, they do not feature in the top 10 mostly because of the relatively small sizes of their markets – market size has been a key consideration in the report’s methodology.”

RMB Africa analysts spoke on economic trends:

Neville Mandimika: “The last three years have sounded an alarm, amplifying what is now a dire need for the economies of Africa to shift their focus from traditional sources of income to other viable alternatives.”

Celeste Fauconnier: “Over the past three years, some African governments have had to implement deep and painful budget cuts, announce multiple currency devaluations and adopt hawkish monetary policy stances – all as a result of a significant drop in traditional revenues.”

Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana: “Some countries have been more nimble and effective than others in managing shortfalls,” says and an author of the report. “But major policy dilemmas have ensued, forcing governments to balance economically prudent solutions with what is politically palatable.”

Where to Invest in Africa 2018 also includes 191 jurisdictions around the world, and measures Africa’s performance relative to other country groupings. The report is available via: www.rmb.co.za/globalmarkets/where-to-invest-in-africa-2018-edition.

Africa IPO round-up

A roundup of some recent initial public offers (IPOs) of shares on Africa’s stock exchanges to raise capital

In early October, MTN launched plans to sell up to 35% of shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange. Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission Director General Adu Anane Antwi confirmed they had started the listing process and were working on the prospectus but no timeline had been given. According to local reports, MTN received its 15-year 4G licence in 2015 after spending $67.5m and on condition that it lists. It hopes to raise up to $500m.
MTN Nigeria is also working on plans for an initial public offer (IPO) of shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2017 which could raise up to $1bn. Nigeria is among several African governments encouraging telcos to list on local bourses and listing is among conditions to settle a record NGN330bn ($1.1bn) fine for failing to disconnect 5.1m unregistered subscribers. Nigeria contributes a third of sales and profit for the Africa’s biggest phone company, which is listed in Johannesburg with market capitalization of ZAR212.8bn ($15.3bn) in early October.
Listings and capital-raising momentum has been maintained on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. Deacons Kenya is the first listed fashion retailer, after joining the Alternative Investment Market Segment (AIMS) of the NSE on 2 August. CEO Muchiri Wahome said the extra funds were to fund expansion into towns with “a vibrant middle class” across Kenya, spurred Kenya’s rapid and ambitious devolution and setting up 47 counties under its 2010 Constitution. Deacons is also eyeing opportunities in neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda. It will also help existing shareholders who want to sell. The retailer listed about 123m shares at an opening price of KES15 ($0.15) each, but by early October the price had slumped to KES8.55.

 

Nairobi centre (credit www.kenya-advisor.com)

Nairobi centre (credit www.kenya-advisor.com)

In June, leather and shoe retailer Nairobi Business Ventures, which operates the brand KShoe, had become the fifth listing on the NSE’s Growth and Enterprise Market Segment aimed at smaller businesses. It was listed through introduction and valued at KES118m ($1.2m). Previous 2016 share issues included Longhorn Publishers in May. In June power generator Kengen succeeded in the Kenyan bourse’s largest rights issue, raising KES26.4bn ($262.1m) by offering 4.4bn new shares at KES6.55 each, with a 92% subscription rate. Kengen has projects to generate another 700MW of power, of which 605MW is geothermal.
However, Fusion Capital had to cancel its IPO despite extending twice after only getting 38% uptake and four investors for its KES2.3bn offering and failing to meet the minimum threshold.
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange had its second private equity listing. Universal Partners raised R1.3bn ($93.7m) in an IPO which was only open for 4-5 August and started trading on the Alt-X market on 11 August. The company was registered in Mauritius in April and also listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius. Its mandate is to invest in properties across Europe, at £10m-£30m ($12m-$37m) each and it aims to start investing within six months. The IPO was for 72m shares at R18.07 each. Several companies aiming to raise capital for African and international investments have dual-listing on the Mauritius and Johannesburg exchanges.
Liberty Holdings is likely to follow up its Kenyan IPO success with a South African Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) called Liberty Two Degrees in December. This will include some ZAR6bn of its existing portfolio, including iconic malls around Gauteng, and ZAR4bn of new money. As in Kenya, the property investments are managed by Stanlib.
West Africa’s integrated regional stock exchange, Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BRVM), based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, plans to build a platform for listing mining shares and raising capital locally. The exchange is talking with Canada’s Toronto Stock Exchange (TMX Group), a favourite bourse for early-stage mining entrepreneurs. BRVM General Manager Edoh Kossi Amenounve says it could open by 2018 and will be for companies exploring or operating mines in the region. There is likely to be a waiver to the usual requirement for 2 years of trading history. The BRVM links eight West African countries, including gold exporters Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, and fourth-largest uranium producer, Niger.
Egypt’s Minister of Investment Dalia Korshid says the Government aims to raise up to $10bn over the next three to five years with IPOs of government-owned companies in the oil sector but will start with restructuring state-owned electricity companies.

Nigerian and African economies.. after the rebasing

Charts circulated by Reuters today (28 Aug) show the rebased Nigerian economy as much bigger than sluggish South Africa, and followed by Egypt, Algeria, Angola and Morocco. They also show Africa’s fastest-growing large economies over 2010-13, with oil-fuelled Ghana leading the pack with historic growth of 10.2% a year, followed by non-commodity driven Ethiopia (9.0%), Zambia (6.7%) and the rebased Nigeria at 6.4% a year.

chart circulated by Reuters

chart circulated by Reuters

Nigeria’s economic rebasing came in April, after they updated the sectors and weights of different parts of the economy. Countries are supposed to do it every 3 years, Nigeria last did it in 1990. This was The Economist’s comment in April: “The GDP revision is not mere trickery. It provides a truer picture of Nigeria’s size by giving due weight to the bits of the economy, such as telecoms, banking and the Nollywood film industry, that have been growing fast in recent years. Other countries perform similar statistical magic – Ghana, for example, added 60% to its economy in 2010.
“Its economy has been growing at an average rate of around 7% a year over the past decade. It is rich in resources, especially oil. It has energetic entrepreneurs and aspirations to be the tech hub of Africa, boasting startups such as Konga and Jumia, budding Nigerian Alibabas. In other industries it has giants such as Dangote Cement (see article), which plans to list in London—as a big oil firm, Seplat, did this week—and is likely to become part of the portfolio of many pension funds. Growing numbers of foreigners wanting to invest in Africa’s rise will buy Nigerian stocks; after Johannesburg, Lagos has the biggest, most liquid market in the region. Above all, Nigeria has lots of people: more than 170m of them”.
Most commentators at the time pointed out that the GDP revision did not mean more food in anyone’s mouth in Nigeria and numbers of unemployed are very high and the number of people in poverty has increased, despite the high annual growth rate. GDP per head is only $2,700 after the rebasing, South Africa’s is nearly 3 times as much. Nigeria’s infrastructure is extremely poor, including transport and power. They point to lack of development and the spiraling political uncertainty and The Economist added: “To absorb the millions of young people pouring into the labour market, Nigeria requires the sustained double-digit growth that China has shown to be possible.”
However, the clearest lesson, according to The Economist: “.. is for sluggish, complacent South Africa, which has long taken its status as the continent’s giant for granted. With Nelson Mandela dead, it looks ever less like a rainbow nation. The ruling African National Congress is tainted by corruption: President Jacob Zuma is trying to explain how the state spent $24m on his private home. Without economic and political reform, it will slip further behind.”
The figures in the chart come from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics and analysis by McKinsey Global Institute.

EFG Hermes says 3 IPOs coming to Egyptian Exchange this year

pic: Tom Minney

pic: Tom Minney


Three new initial public offer (IPO) share flotations with a total value of over $300 million are planned for the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) this year, says Egypt’s largest investment bank. According to a story on Reuters, these would be the first listings on the Cairo bourse since the revolution, the last IPO was in 2010.
The Egyptian Exchange has been booming in recent months, after suffering in the political turmoil since Mubarak’s fall in 2011.
Reuters reports that Karim Awad, co-CEO of EFG Hermes, told financial newspaper Al-Mal that Egypt’s Arabian Cement Company would be one of the listings but did not name the other two. Awad told Reuters by email: “The IPOs will hopefully happen this year. The exact timing in the year will be agreed with the companies who are undertaking the IPOs and considering the state of the financial markets.”
Egyptian stock market investors have chosen to ignore increasing violence and repression and are focusing instead on the ongoing national economic and political stabilization, particularly since the 14 Jan referendum approving a new constitution and cleared the way for presidential and parliamentary elections. The main EGX 30 Price Return index of the Egyptian stock exchange is up over 45% since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, after mass protests against his rule.
As reported here, Egypt’s financial regulator the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) will implement new regulations for companies listed on the bourse from tomorrow (1 Feb), which could help boost liquidity and attract listings and further investment.
On 28 Jan, Finance Minister Ahmed Galal said details of its second stimulus package since Mursi’s ousting would be announced within days. The aim is to boost growth and investment, which had slowed dramatically. Government had done a first stimulus package of EGP30 billion ($4.3bn) last year and promised a second of the same size this month. Gulf countries have pledged more than $12bn in aid since Mursi was overthrown and Galal has said that EGP20bn would go on public investment and the rest would create a new public-sector minimum wage.
Before the 2011 revolution, Egypt was attracting around $8bn a year of foreign direct investment (FDI) but that shrank to $4bn in the year to June 2012 and $3bn to June 2013. Investment Minister Osama Saleh said this week they expect to beat the target of $4bn in FDI by June 2014.
Here is last week’s Economist article on Egypt.

Bond trading coming to Egyptian Exchange, listing regulations eased

A bond-trading platform could be launched in Egypt in Q2 of 2014, after 10 years of planning, according to a story on Reuters, quoting Mohamed Omran, chairman of the Egyptian Exchange (EGX): “We hope to activate the bonds market in the second quarter of this year. The file is now with the central bank to come to an agreement with banks on how to issue certain percentages of the bonds for trading,” Omran told Reuters.

The regulator (Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority EFSA) is to relax regulations from 1 Feb so that a listed company will no longer need EFSA permission to split shares or need to call a general meeting before a capital increase, provided it complies with pre-set rules. Reuters cited a telephone interview with EFSA head Sherif Samy. He said the new regulations would also make it easier for companies who wish to list. The draft that amends listing and delisting regulations has been shared with capital markets institutions in Egypt last week and can be obtained (in Arabic) via this link.

Omran told the agency the new regulations would help boost trading on the African securities exchange and attract more investment. According to an earlier Reuters story, the new regulations will also include developing mechanisms for exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The aim is to attract new companies and boost turnover. Samy had told Reuters in October that listing regulations were in “dire need” of change.

A few treasury (government) and corporate bonds are listed for trading on the EGX but so far investors tend to hold until maturity and bond trading is slow.

The EGX also announced recently new monthly reports on important data and financial indicators of listed companies including PE ratio, turnover ratio, percentage of change in the stock price, market capitalization, average daily value of shares traded and volume (number of shares traded). According to a news release, Omran said the data and indicators would boost the quality of information, raise capacity of small dealers in making comparisons, and help investors make decisions.

Citadel Capital to issue $528m shares

Shareholders of leading investment company Citadel Capital have voted recently to allow the company, which says it has $9.5 billion in investments under control, to boost capital by EGP 3.64 billion ($528 million). According to a press release, it is part of “the firm’s transformation from the largest private equity firm in Africa into the leading investment company in the region.”
Citadel is listed CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Exchange. Shareholders voted at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in Cairo on 20 October. The shares will be issued at par value (EGP 5) and would boost capital from EGP 4.36 bn to EGP 8.0 bn. Shareholders will participate in the share issuance on a pro-rata basis.
Citadel Capital says it will use the capital to reach majority ownership in most of its platform companies, in particular the firm’s subsidiaries in its five core industries: energy, transportation, agrifoods, mining and cement. It plans to exit non-core investments over the coming few years as it transforms its business model to become an investment company.
Citadel Capital Chairman and Founder Ahmed Heikal said in a press release: “Approval to launch the capital increase signals clear shareholder confidence in our transformation into an investment company. The long-term holding periods permitted by the new model will allow Citadel Capital to maximize value creation through a balanced portfolio that includes a healthy mix of both assets that provide stable dividend streams and that are cash generative, and others that are in high-growth phases.”

$183bn of M&A in Africa in last 10 years, Britain leads

The total value of mergers and acquisitions deals in Africa by foreign investors was $183 billion over the ten years 2003-2012, up threefold on the previous decade, according to a story this week on Reuters. There were a total of 2,417 transactions, double the previous decade (up 109%). Britain was the largest investor with 437 deals worth $30.5bn.
The information is available in figures compiled by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, an international law firm. Other major investors were France (141 deals worth $30.47bn) and China (49 deals worth $20.8bn). South Africa is the most active African investor in the continent outside of its domestic market and invested $6.2bn across 153 deals.
According to the Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer press release: “International investors now account for half of the total value of African M&A, completing 255 deals worth $20.0bn out of a total of $39.5bn and 758 deals in 2012. This is up from $6.4bn and 122 deals in 2003.”
Most of the M&A action was in metals and mining, with 752 deals worth $33.9bn, followed by oil and gas (299 deals worth $29.6bn) and wireless telecoms (33 deals worth $25.4bn). Reuters quotes Bruce Embley, corporate partner at the law firm, who says the emphasis could be changing: “Extractives and mining opportunities have been big drivers of growth. However, consumer-related M&A could take the limelight as GDP per household continues to grow, the middle class in Africa expands and consumer demand rises.”
According to the press release: “Consumer-facing industries such as telecoms, retail and food and drink are beginning to rival natural resources with $58.0bn invested across 569 deals. The value of investment targeting consumer industries has doubled in the last ten years with $3.8bn across 71 deals invested in 2012 (up from $1.9bn and 33 deals in 2003).”
Top deal destinations over 2003-2012 were South Africa ($59.1bn of investment over 836 deals), Egypt ($46.5bn for 266 deals) and Nigeria ($22.1bn across 90 deals).
China overtook the USA as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report released in February. African economic growth is forecast at 4.8% in 2013 and 5.3% in 2014, according to the African Economic Outlook 2013 report released on 27 May. The growth will be fuelled by commodity exporters such as Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, all in West Africa. The annual AEO report is produced the African Development Bank (AfDB), the OECD Development Centre, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Egyptian Exchange holds workshops with mutual funds to boost liquidity

The Egyptian Exchange (www.egx.com.eg) is busy with workshops for mutual funds, investment banks and managers of investment institutions, aiming to boost trading volumes through better communications between market participants and listed companies.

Trading floor of Egyptian Exchange - Dec 2012  pic: Tom Minney

Trading floor of Egyptian Exchange – Dec 2012 pic: ACMN, Tom Minney

The workshops gave investor relations (IR) officials of the listed companies a chance to present their work plans and investment options and the fund managers could also discuss latest developments and current market variables.
According to an EGX press release, Dr. Mohammed Omran, EGX Chairman, said the EGX is keen to boost stock market liquidity. Fund managers praised the communication with listed companies and said it adds to the disclosure provided by EGX. It gives a legal framework for officials of listed companies to answer questions from the institutional investors.
This is a high priority in the current Egyptian economy where all market participants need to work hard to keep the Egyptian Exchange strong and active capital market in the short and medium term.

Egypt’s Nilex exchange for SMEs adds 23rd listing

The Egyptian Exchange (EGX –www.egx.com.eg) has approved the listing of the 23rd company on Nilex (the Nile Exchange – www.nilex.com.eg), the EGX market for growing medium and small companies. A meeting of the listing committee on 17 January approved to list the shares of Al Fanar Contracting Construction Trade Import And Export Co, which has 8 million shares, at a par value of EGP1.00 (USD0.15) each, according to the Nilex news feed. The shares were due to be added to the database with effect from 20 January but were not to be traded until the company and its Nominated Advisor comply with listings requirements.
Listing standards set by the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (www.efsa.gov.eg) require a disclosure report and an approved study on the fair value of the company’s shares. The company has 6 months to meet other conditions set by EFSA (Board of Directors decree no 81 of 17 Oct 2011) or its listing “should be considered as if it never took place”.
For instance, also on 17 Jan the Listing Committee decided that the listing of the shares of National Investment and Reconstruction (Nirco) shall be terminated and it should be considered never to have been listed and it was removed from the EGX database effective 20 Jan 2013.
The previous Nilex listing was International Company for Medical Industries (ICMI), approved on 30 Dec and listed on the database from 31 Dec, with a share capital of EGP4m ($604,000) at par value. Trading would wait for the requirements to be complied with. The Egyptian Modern Education Systems (MOED) was approved on 12 Dec and added to the database on 16 Dec.
Companies wishing to list on the Nilex must work with a Nominated Advisor and new rules and requirements have been issued. There are 35 approved nominated advisors listed here. According to the Nominated Advisor requirements, the Nominated Advisor acts as coordinator between issuer and the exchange, advises and helps the company on all responsibilities during the application process and after listing, helps the company fulfill ongoing disclosure obligations, informs the regulators of non-compliance, helps the company with its initial public offering, and must provide research coverage. These obligations last for 2 years from date of listing.
Nilex started trading on 3 Jun 2010 and the trading sessions were set from 11am-noon with an automatic close period from 11:50-noon. The initial listings were: El Badr Plastic; Masria Card; TN Holdings for Investment; Kato Agriculture Development Co.; Utopia Real Estate Investment and Tourism; Ameco Medical Industries; International Company for Fertilizers and Chemicals; Al Oroba Trading Mining and Supplying; Al Moasher for Programming and Information Dissemination and El-Barbary Investment Group (B.I.G) with trading suspended in the last 2 until they submitted the disclosure reports. All started trading at par value.
According to the latest market report (posted 21 Jan here but updating daily on this link), the most active company yesterday was Marseille Almasreia Alkhalegeya For Holding Investment with 34 trades totaling EGP141,061 ($21,300) in value, followed by Utopia with 24 trades totaling EGP111,398.

Egypt aims for 800,000 jobs

CAIRO – The short-term challenge for the Egyptian Government is to mobilize domestic and foreign investment to create 800,000 jobs. This was the energizing call from Hesham Kandil, the Prime Minister of Egypt, opening the 16th African Stock Exchanges Association conference in Cairo 2012 #ASEA2012 today (3 Dec). He also congratulated participants for braving the negative picture painted by the international media on Cairo’s largely peaceful mass demonstrations: “What you see in media is not necessarily what is happening in Cairo.” He repeated the previous speaker’s challenge, how to fuel the growth that keeps Africa rising not uprising.

Progress and plans in Egypt
Mr Kandil pointed out that Egypt is the gateway linking Africa with the Middle East, Europe and Asia. It is busy with a process of democratic change since 25 January last year. “We are making all efforts to fulfil the aspirations of the Egyptian people. In the past few days we have reached the historic point, the final draft of a Constitution written by an elected constituent assembly, under the first elected civilian president. This is a major step, with the prospect of a constitution on 15 Dec, followed by an election for a new Parliament, ending the transition period. You are witnessing history and you should be proud for being in Cairo at this time.”
He said that a democratic Egypt offers a great opportunity for investors where they can invest in a climate of transparency and accountability, those used to dealing with the old regime will soon notice the difference. He added that 2 weeks earlier, Egupt had reached a preliminary agreement with IMF on our home-grown national programme, this open the way to receive the necessary financing to fill the budget deficit that we have inherited from a previous regime. It is a certificate of confidence that this economy is in the right hand and going in the right direction.
He said Government had divided planning into 3 timetables, in the short term (2012-2014) we need to restore growth and we also plan in the mid term 2012-17 and long term 2017-2012. Our aim in the short term is to boost economic growth from 2.2% to 4.5% per annum in 2014, moving towards a sustainable growth rate of 7% by 2022. This year we intend to create local and foreign investment to create 800,000 jobs. The Egyptian Government offers an attractive business climate and offers solutions – lately we have been able to solve problems for 46 companies, bringing investment and jobs for 100,000 people.
The Government will support capital markets, small and medium enterprises SMEs and to achieve social justice for the people, this is the short–term plan to handle the structural problems of the state budget, when the deficit last year reached Le168bn. We will eradicate corruption, it will be a long road, only from this year 2012-13 we expect to save Le20bn from corruption only, we have to rationalize our expenses. We also have to rationalize subsidies to reach the poor, the current subsidy programme keeps the poor poor, we need to focus on the sectors that will help the poor by focusing on education and health services.

Egypt committed to African partners
We are also part of Africa, in Egypt we have a sincere commitment towards Africa, to cooperate with all African partners for our mutual growth and benefit. We strongly enhance our trade linkages and seek to be a major player in the African continent. I travelled east and south, north, everywhere, it is one continent that you cannot help to fall in love with, I have seen the potential and the opportunities with my own eyes. It is projected that Africa could achieve a high growth rate of 6%, African GDP is to reach $2.6trn by 2020, we have natural resources, energy, water and most importantly human capital, we have what we need to reach this. We meet to discuss how to integrate properly through supporting capital markets in Africa, work continuously on the improvement of the technological and legislative infrastructure, I also invite investors from all over the world to reconsider Africa land of opportunity. He pointed out that return on investment in Africa is very high and African companies are generally more profitable than Chinese companies.