Amendments to the Gouna masterplan waive environmental fees, unlock value, and increase ODE’s hospitality exposure
ODE enjoys solid profitability in 2023e as the 3Q23 land sale should offset potential FX losses
In a recent report, HC Brokerage issued an update note about Egypt’s real-estate sector, through shedding the light on Orascom Development Egypt where they expect ODE to offset potential FX losses.
Mariam Elsaadany, real estate analyst at HC Brokerage commented: “Gouna masterplan amendments should pave the way for significant value unlocking: In February 2023, Orascom Development Egypt (ODE) signed a new masterplan agreement with the Egyptian authorities, including the following terms: (1) approval of a new master plan for the remaining land bank in El Gouna and 1,000 hotel rooms at the company’s discretion, (2) granting ODE the right to connect its lagoon system to the sea via two new water canals to improve water quality in existing and future projects, (3) reducing the shoreline setback for the remaining land bank from 200 meters to 105 meters, which allows ODE to make commercial use of the most prime land of the destination, and (4) amending the transfer fee payable by ODE on real estate sales for the remaining land bank, which is fixed for ten years and will be paid in advance over 15 years, and (5) granting environmental permits for 24 projects in Gouna and exonerating ODE from all charges and settlement of all disputes with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). The amendments remove the overhang on the stock and allow significant value extraction from its 16.6m sqm, which we had previously valued at an NPV of only EGP209/sqm, compared to EGP402/sqm currently. Moreover, ODE’s recurring income business benefitted from a strong touristic season, contributing c32% to 1Q23 revenue, up from c28% in 1Q22, and c29% to EBITDA, up from c20% in 1Q22. Nonetheless, ODE’s USD and EUR debt balance, representing c73% of total debt, exposes it to significant FX losses during EGP devaluations, despite recording higher hospitality revenue in EGP terms helped by the EGP devaluation. Accordingly, we expect more one-off transactions, including land sales and non-core asset sales, to offset possible FX losses and margin compression from the real estate business, such as the company’s sale of an EGP390m high-margin land plot in Gouna in 3Q23.”
Mariam concluded: “We expect accelerated collections on shorter payment plans in first-home projects and expect reduced risk of margin erosion due to core and shell offerings: We assume substantial increases in ODE’s real estate selling prices, hospitality average room rates (ARRs), and rental prices to preserve its profitability amid inflationary pressures. Annual urban headline inflation averaged 31.6% in 1H23 compared to a c59% increase in residential selling price increase and a c86% increase in hospitality ARR over the same period, demonstrating the company’s efforts to preserve its margins. Margin compression for ODE is limited during the coming two years, in our view, due to (1) the company’s strategy to raise selling prices and (2) expected one-off sales going forward, and (3) more core and shell offerings allow it to avoid margin erosion on finishing materials. For the real estate business, we expect a drop in sales volumes over 2023—2024e, in line with management’s strategy to hold onto inventory, where it opts to reduce the number of units launched to the market during uncertain times and offers them when the profitability outlook is higher. Our total receivables estimates over our forecast period stand at EGP151bn, including the company’s share of O West receivables. Our CAPEX estimate is EGP90.2bn for the forecast period, which implies an average margin of c40% for the company’s residential business. Over our forecast period, we increased hospitality occupancy rates to range from c70%–80% in Gouna and increased ARRs at an average of c10% annually. We did not include in our estimates any of the 1,000 planned hotel rooms in Gouna, and it is worth noting that the company is not obliged to build these rooms and can abandon the plan if it chooses to. Our hospitality estimate yields a c28% 4-year CAGR in hospitality revenue, and we expect the company’s hospitality margin to average c30% over our 2H23–2027e forecast period. We expect ODE’s 2023e net debt-to-equity to drop to 0.46x from 1.10x in 2022 as its cash balance grows on the back of strong collections. It is worth noting that the company has reduced payment plans in O West, which we believe affirms strong demand. We also highlight the increase in the company’s interest expense, especially on the EUR and USD debt, given that c73% of its debt is in these currencies.”