Azimut launches Egyptian equity UCITS fund

Azimut launches Egyptian equity UCITS fund

Azimut Group has announced the launch of Egypt's first equity UCITS fund, the Azimut Egypt Asset Management (Azimut Egypt), in a move designed to 'offer new access for Egyptian expats and investors in the GCC and Europe.'

Wholly-owned by Azimut Group, a Luxembourg-based asset manager, Azimut Egypt expects the fund to benefit from the blend of the country's consistent GDP growth, which is driving corporate earnings, and its economic reform programme, expected to boost private sector participation. Further, the fund can capitalize on local price inefficiency and access to companies trading at a discount to peers.

"We are proud to launch the first Egyptian equity UCITS fund domiciled in Luxembourg," said Ahmed Abou El Saad, managing director of Azimut Egypt. "This offers new access for Egyptian expats and other investors in the GCC, as well as an efficient vehicle for European investors to get exposure to a rising economic star."

Egypt's economy is likely to be the only one in the MENA region to record positive GDP growth in 2020."

Giorgio Medda, group co-CEO and global head of Asset Management at Azimut, added: "Azimut continues to deliver on the growth plan in MENA, with the aim to broadcast the region's thriving economies."

"The first Egypt focused fund ever launched internationally is yet another testament of our ongoing commitment and highlights the significance of our global expertise being based upon strong local investment teams. The AZ Equity Egypt fund will benefit from the synergies between our teams in Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, while being accessible globally thanks to our UCITS platform in Luxembourg."

'Impressive growth story'
Egypt's economic trajectory supports the decision to launch this fund regardless of the pandemic. In line with its three-year economic reform programme in conjunction with the IMF, Egypt adopted a set of monetary and fiscal reforms that have helped stimulate growth, generate a solid primary budget surplus, reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio and replenish foreign reserves.

In addition, key legislative reforms to improve the business environment have reflected positively on the country's sovereign ratings. Real GDP growth increased to 5.6% in the fiscal year 2019 (ending June 30, 2019), compared with an average of 4.6% in the previous three years.

"Egypt is one of the most attractive stories in the emerging markets universe," added El-Saad. "Moreover, and despite the covid-19 repercussions, Egypt's economy is likely to be the only one in the MENA region to record positive GDP growth in 2020, as per IMF projections."

Getting a trading edge
Despite this backdrop, Egypt's stock market is yet to capture the benefits of the transformation, reflected in attractive valuations for publicly-listed equities - P/E 9-10x vs. 15-16x for emerging markets overall.

This is drawing increasing interest from foreign investors, who see opportunities over a medium- to long-term investment horizon, which allows sectors to fully benefit from the structural growth potential of the underlying stocks.

With this in mind, AZ Equity-Egypt is a high-conviction portfolio of 20 to 30 stocks, benefiting from the mix of best-practice international research and analysis, plus on-the-ground insights from an experienced local team of over 10 professionals, with an average 12 years' industry experience.

Author spotlight

Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.